The American Civil War, Fought Over Slavery, Begun by South Carolina

March 7, 2007 at 1:30 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Civil War | 146 Comments

With that shot on the Union ship “Star of the West” the Civil War officially began. The causes of the Civil War are complex and deep, however one word describes the heart of the division of America that led to actual fighting: slavery.

Thousands of books have been written on the subject. My few words here will not be comprehensive, and certainly nothing to improve upon any of actual scholars who have studied the topic in full. My point here is to make clear a few things, because—and I am continually surprised at this—today’s Republicans, especially the more militant, hardcore right-wing Christian kinds, believe the South was right, that the South was innocent, and that the war was not fought over slavery. The irony is that today’s Republicans call themselves the Party of Lincoln. Heh, he’s rolling in his grave right now over what his party is thinking today! So let’s get a few things straight about the civil war that tore our country for so long.

In 1796, George Washington, America’s first president, gave his Farewell Address. In his final words to the Union, he addressed that very word, union. He said:

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts…

The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations…

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

He emphasized how a unified States would be less prone to foreign intervention, more freedom and more safety and security. He also warned against those who would attempt to weaken this union:

With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

Distrust the patriotism of those who endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

He continues pressing the point of the strength of a Unified States versus the separation of the states into smaller allied groups:

To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

Nearly half of President Washington’s farewell address covered the important issue of unity, the United States of America. The whole being more important than the part. The national being more important than the local. Why did he spend nearly half of his farewell address focusing on this topic? Because even then, in 1796, he saw the division that would destroy his beloved country. He never named the issue, because he was a slave-owner himself, and because there were many issues which divided the nation (he does mention an issue the Western states had brought up regarding a deal with Spain). The point is that for President George Washington, what was most important was that the union would remain whole.

Unfortunately for President Washington, the union would not remain whole, but bitterly divided. Northern states that used to employ slavery, abolished the practice over the next few decades. The North also increased its population due mostly to immigration from European countries. By 1860, Northern states had a population of 22,08,250 while Southern states had a population of 9,103,332. Furthermore 39% of those 9 million Southerners were slaves while only 2% of the Northern states’ population were slaves. These numbers show many things.

1. Only about 5 million Southerners were white and only about 2.5 million of them male, who fought for their lands quite bravely in the Civil War. That so few could stand against so many Northerners is definitely romantic.

2. More importantly, in a democracy, especially a representative republic, where representatives are based on population levels, the South was constantly in the rut, losing more and more, and as such fearing the Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. This is a very important point because as America expanded to the West, what would those new states base their laws and governance on? Would they allow slavery? If not, the South would basically lose out on its greatest asset.

Northerners were not generally for abolishing slavery.

While some in the North hated slavery because they felt that it was wrong, most people held no opinion of it at all, and some even condoned it because abolishing it would be bad for business. Without slaves there would be no cotton. Without cotton the textile industry would suffer. To many it was just that simple.

Besides, if they could abolish slavery just like that, what would the country do now with the nearly 4 million ex-slaves? No, the north, including one Abraham Lincoln was not pressing for the abolishment of slavery. There were many individuals who certainly did, but not as a whole.

It is the expansion to the west that set things in motion. If western states were against slavery, the South would lose its political clout and influence, and would expect at some future point for its way of life to cease. This was their fear. As to how founded or unfounded, I’m not sure, myself. I haven’t studied the topic enough. I do know that the North passed several laws and tariffs that pressed and choked Southern states. In 1832, South Carolina nearly seceded from the Union over tariffs. President Jackson threatened the state with invasion, stating that the state cannot simply ignore the federal government. South Carolina backed off. Here is a portion of Andrew Jackson’s proclamation regarding nullification by South Carolina:

The ordinance is founded, not on the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are plainly unconstitutional, and too oppressive to be endured, but on the strange position that any one State may not only declare an act of Congress void, but prohibit its execution- that they may do this consistently with the Constitution-that the true construction of that instrument permits a State to retain its place in the Union, and yet be bound by no other of its laws than those it may choose to consider as constitutional. It is true they add, that to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution, but it is evident, that to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws. For, as by the theory, there is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the State, good or bad, must prevail. If it should be said that public opinion is a sufficient check against the abuse of this power, it may be asked why it is not deemed a sufficient guard against the passage of an unconstitutional act by Congress. There is, however, a restraint in this last case, which makes the assumed power of a State more indefensible, and which does not exist in the other. There are two appeals from an unconstitutional act passed by Congress-one to the judiciary, the other to the people and the States. There is no appeal from the State decision in theory; and the practical illustration shows that the courts are closed against an application to review it, both judges and jurors being sworn to decide in its favor. But reasoning on this subject is superfluous, when our social compact in express terms declares, that the laws of the United States, its Constitution, and treaties made under it, are the supreme law of the land; and for greater caution adds, “that the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” And it may be asserted, without fear of refutation, that no federative government could exist without a similar provision. Look, for a moment, to the consequence. If South Carolina considers the revenue laws unconstitutional, and has a right to prevent their execution in the port of Charleston, there would be a clear constitutional objection to their collection in every other port, and no revenue could be collected anywhere; for all imposts must be equal. It is no answer to repeat that an unconstitutional law is no law, so long as the question of its legality is to be decided by the State itself, for every law operating injuriously upon any local interest will be perhaps thought, and certainly represented, as unconstitutional, and, as has been shown, there is no appeal.

If this doctrine had been established at an earlier day, the Union would have been dissolved in its infancy. The excise law in Pennsylvania, the embargo and non-intercourse law in the Eastern States, the carriage tax in Virginia, were all deemed unconstitutional, and were more unequal in their operation than any of the laws now complained of; but, fortunately, none of those States discovered that they had the right now claimed by South Carolina. The war into which we were forced, to support the dignity of the nation and the rights of our citizens, might have ended in defeat and disgrace instead of victory and honor, if the States, who supposed it a ruinous and unconstitutional measure, had thought they possessed the right of nullifying the act by which it was declared, and denying supplies for its prosecution. Hardly and unequally as those measures bore upon several members of the Union, to the legislatures of none did this efficient and peaceable remedy, as it is called, suggest itself. The discovery of this important feature in our Constitution was reserved to the present day. To the statesmen of South Carolina belongs the invention, and upon the citizens of that State will, unfortunately, fall the evils of reducing it to practice.

If the doctrine of a State veto upon the laws of the Union carries with it internal evidence of its impracticable absurdity, our constitutional history will also afford abundant proof that it would have been repudiated with indignation had it been proposed to form a feature in our Government…

I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States, assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which It was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.

Clearly, South Carolina’s weak attempt to ignore a law passed by Congress, and then threaten the Union with secession, was rebuked strongly, and appropriately by President Jackson. Clearly also, it was an unconstitutional move by South Carolina. It is no surprise to anyone then that in 1860, South Carolina would take the first shot. But we’ll get to that soon enough.

As the nation grew larger, expanding westward, laws were passed and compromises reached to avert a bloody showdown between the North and South. The problem still arose from the fact that the North was growing in numbers far greater than the South, or slave-owning states, even though Texas was set up as a slave-owning state in the Compromise of 1850. As I showed earlier, the numbers show a huge disparity between the two sides.

As recounted here

The whole mess went up in smoke in the presidential election year of 1860. The Democratic party split badly. Stephen Douglas became the nominee of the northern wing of the party. A southern faction broke away from the party and nominated Senator John Breckinridge of Kentucky. The remnants of the Whig party nominated John Bell of Tennessee.

Into this confusion the new Republican party injected its nominee, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a moderate Republican. As such he was a compromise candidate, everybody’s second choice. He was convinced that the Constitution forbade the Federal government from taking action against slavery where it already existed, but was determined to keep it from spreading further. South Carolina, in a fit of stubborn pride, unilaterally announced that it would secede from the Union if Lincoln were elected.

To everyone’s amazement Lincoln was victorious. He had gathered a mere 40% of the popular vote, and carried not a single slave state, but the vote had been so fragmented by the abundance of factions that it had been enough.

South Carolina, true to its word, seceded on December 20, 1860. Mississippi left on January 9, 1861, and Florida on the 10th. Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed.

What were the reasons? Let’s read the declarations of secession themselves from the various states:

Here are the Ordinances of Secession of the 13 Confederate States

Here is Georgia’s Declaration of Secession

Here is Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession

Here is Texas’ Declaration of Secession

Here is South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession.

I’ve always found Mississippi’s declaration to be most amusing:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

Could they be more ridiculous? In any case, at the heart of all the declarations of secession is the desire to prolong and continue the practice of slavery. The South felt the noose of the loss of political power, and instead of following the rest of the nation toward a better future, decided that their best interest no longer resided with the union. Two Southern presidents, Andrew Jackson and George Washington both stated clearly the larger union was of greater priority. Could the South learn to move on? No.

So what happened when South Carolina broke away, followed by the rest of the South? Nothing really. Not at first. The North didn’t suddenly invade the South. The South didn’t suddenly attack the North. President James Buchanan could really do nothing about the South seceding as his term was ending. Abraham Lincoln won the election in November 1860, but the first shot was fired on 10 January 1861. And of course, it all started in South Carolina.

This link explains well what happened:

The January 26, 1861 edition of Harper’s Weekly featured the following illustration, showing the First Shot of the Civil War. The first shot was fired on January 10, 1861. It was fired by the South Carolinians on Morris Island. They fired on the Union Ship “Star of the West” as it attempted to reinforce Major Anderson at Fort Sumter.

Nothing else happened until April 12, 1861, when the war began, again by South Carolina firing on Fort Sumter:

After her secession from the Union, South Carolina perceived herself as a sovereign state – the presence of Union forces in an armed fortress whose guns commanded her principal harbor was intolerable as it belied her independence. For President Lincoln the voluntary abandonment of this fortress was equally intolerable as it would be a tacit acknowledgment of South Carolina’s independent status.

Lincoln learned that the garrison at Fort Sumter was in trouble on the day he took office in March 1861. The garrison was running out of food and supplies and had no way of obtaining these on shore. The President ordered a relief expedition to sail immediately and informed the Governor of South Carolina of his decision. Alerted, General P.G.T Beauregard, commander of the Confederate military forces, realized he had to quickly force the evacuation of the fort before the relief expedition’s arrival. He would try threats first, and if these failed he would bombard the fort into submission.

The firsthand account is a fascinating read. The garrison had told the South Carolina soldiers that they were due to run out of provisions fairly soon. That did not stop South Carolina from the bombardment.

On the afternoon of April 11, waving a white flag, two members of General Beauregard’s staff were rowed across Charleston’s harbor to Fort Sumter carrying a written demand for surrender. One of the emissaries – Stephen D. Lee – wrote of the experience after the war:

“This demand was delivered to Major Anderson at 3:45 P.M., by two aides of General Beauregard, James Chesnut, Jr., and myself. At 4:30 P.M. he handed us his reply, refusing to accede to the demand; but added, ‘Gentlemen, if you do not batter the fort to pieces about us, we shall be starved out in a few days.’ The reply of Major Anderson was put in General Beauregard’s hands at 5:15 P.M., and he was also told of this informal remark. Anderson’s reply and remark were communicated to the Confederate authorities at Montgomery. The Secretary of War, L.P. Walker, replied to Beauregard as follows:”

‘Do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the meantime he will not use his guns against us, unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are authorized thus to avoid the effusion of blood. If this, or its equivalent, be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be most practicable.’

” The same aides bore a second communication to Major Anderson, based on the above instructions, which was placed in, his hands at 12:45 A.M., April 12th. His reply indicated that he would evacuate the fort on the 15th, provided he did not in the meantime receive contradictory instructions from his Government, or additional supplies, but he declined to agree not to open his guns upon the Confederate troops, in the event of any hostile demonstration on their part against his flag. Major Anderson made every possible effort to retain the aides till daylight, making one excuse and then another for not replying. Finally, at 3:15 A.M., he delivered his reply. In accordance with their instructions, the aides read it and, finding it unsatisfactory, gave Major Anderson this notification:”

‘FORT SUMTER, S.C., April 12, 1861, 3:20 A.M. – SIR: By authority of Brigadier-General Beauregard, commanding the Provisional Forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time. We have the honor to be very respectfully, Your obedient servants, JAMES CHESNUT JR., Aide-de-camp. STEPHEN D. LEE, Captain C. S. Army, Aide-de-camp.’

“The above note was written in one of the casemates of the fort, and in the presence of Major Anderson and several of his officers. On receiving it, he was much affected. He seemed to realize the full import of the consequences, and the great responsibility of his position. Escorting us to the boat at the wharf, he cordially pressed our hands in farewell, remarking, ‘If we never meet in this world again, God grant that we may meet in the next.’

It was then 4 A.M. Captain James at once aroused his command, and arranged to carry out the order. He was a great admirer of Roger A. Pryor, and said to him, ‘You are the only man to whom I would give up the honor of firing the first gun of the war’; and he offered to allow him to fire it. Pryor, on receiving the offer, was very much agitated. With a husky voice he said, ‘I could not fire the first gun of the war.’ His manner was almost similar to that of Major Anderson as we left him a few moments before on the wharf at Fort Sumter. Captain James would allow no one else but himself to fire the gun.

The boat with the aides of General Beauregard left Fort Johnson before arrangements were complete for the firing of the gun, and laid on its oars, about one-third the distance between the fort and Sumter, there to witness the firing of ‘the first gun of the war’ between the States. It was fired from a ten-inch mortar at 4:30 A.M., April 12th, 1861. Captain James was a skillful officer, and the firing of the shell was a success. It burst immediately over the fort, apparently about one hundred feet above.

The firing of the mortar woke the echoes from every nook and corner of the harbor, and in this the dead hour of the night, before dawn, that shot was a sound of alarm that brought every soldier in the harbor to his feet, and every man, woman and child in the city of Charleston from their beds. A thrill went through the whole city. It was felt that the Rubicon was passed. No one thought of going home; unused as their ears were to the appalling sounds, or the vivid flashes from the batteries, they stood for hours fascinated with horror.”

The rest as we know it is history. Unfortunately, the South doesn’t like the fact that they are perceived as rebels and secessionists, even though that is exactly what they were. So you get individuals like Major General John Gordon who try to justify the actions of the South. He states:

During the entire life of the Republic the respective rights and powers of the States and general government had furnished a question for endless controversy. In process of time this controversy assumed a somewhat sectional phase. The dominating thought of the North and of the South may be summarized in a few sentences.
The South maintained with the depth of religious conviction that the Union formed under the Constitution was a Union of consent and not of force; that the original States were not the creatures but the creators of the Union; that these States had gained their independence, their freedom, and their sovereignty from the mother country, and had not surrendered these on entering the Union; that by the express terms of the Constitution all rights and powers not delegated were reserved to the States; and the South challenged the North to find one trace of authority in that Constitution for invading and coercing a sovereign State.
The North, on the other hand, maintained with the utmost confidence in the correctness of her position that the Union formed under the Constitution was intended to be perpetual; that sovereignty was a unit and could not be divided; that whether or not there was any express power granted in the Constitution for invading a State, the right of self-preservation was inherent in all governments; that the life of the Union was essential to the life of liberty; or, in the words of Webster, “liberty and union are one and inseparable.”
To the charge of the North that secession was rebellion and treason, the South replied that the epithets of rebel and traitor did not deter her from the assertion of her independence, since these same epithets had been familiar to the ears of Washington and Hancock and Adams and Light Horse Harry Lee. In vindication of her right to secede, she appealed to the essential doctrine, “the right to govern rests on the consent of the governed,” and to the right of independent action as among those reserved by the States. The South appealed to the acts and opinions of the Fathers and to the report of the Hartford Convention of New England States asserting the power of each State to decide as to the remedy for infraction of its rights; to the petitions presented and positions assumed by ex-President John Quincy Adams; to the contemporaneous declaration of the 8th of January assemblage in Ohio indicating that 200,000 Democrats in that State alone were ready to stand guard on the banks of the border river and resist invasion of Southern territory; and to the repeated declarations of Horace Greeley and the admission of President Lincoln himself that there was difficulty on the question of force, since ours ought to be a fraternal Government.
In answer to all these points, the North also cited the acts and opinions of the same Fathers, and urged that the purpose of those Fathers was to make a more perfect Union and a stronger government. The North offset the opinions of Greeley and others by the emphatic declaration of Stephen A. Douglas, the foremost of Western Democrats, and by the official opinion as to the power of the Government to collect revenues and enforce laws, given to President Buchanan by Jere Black, the able Democratic Attorney-General.

And I might add, two of those Founding Fathers who advocated a “more perfect union and a stronger government” were Southerners, Andrew Jackson and George Washington, not to mention Thomas Jefferson.

On one major point, Major General Gordon is very right. We do need a more rounded education about the Civil War. However, let’s not revise history and portray the North as aggressors, when clearly the South began the conflict, and that at its heart this conflict wasn’t about slavery. There was no other issue that Southern states were as troubled by as the institution of slavery becoming prohibited in the nation in which they were in. As Andrew Jackson said, however, if a state were to ignore and nullify one part of the law, it would “give the power to resisting all laws,” and destroy the union.

I close with the words of Abraham Lincoln on why he fought the South’s secession:

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” … My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy 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 would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. … I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.

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  1. Very nice post, Daniel!

  2. The North, on the other hand, maintained with the utmost confidence in the correctness of her position that the Union formed under the Constitution was intended to be perpetual; that sovereignty was a unit and could not be divided

    Isn’t that pretty much a restatement of how Britain felt about the colonies? Why was it a good thing that the colonies were able to break away from Britain, but not a good thing for the Southern states to attempt to declare their own sovereignty? Was it simply a case of might makes right?

    The South maintained with the depth of religious conviction that the Union formed under the Constitution was a Union of consent and not of force

    From Thomas DiLorenzo, via LewRockwell.com:

    Lincoln falsely claimed that the states were never sovereign and that the union created the states, not the other way around. (But as Joe Sobran has remarked, the notion that the union is older than the states makes as much sense as the idea that a marriage can be older than either spouse. It is impossible for a union of two things to be older than either of the things it is a union of).

    The truth is that in all of the American founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution, the states refer to themselves as “free and independent.” The Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War was a treaty with the individual, free and independent states, not “the whole people” of the United States.

    The citizens of the states understood that they were sovereign over the federal government, not the other way around, as Lincoln absurdly claimed. The sovereign states delegated a few enumerated powers to the central government, as their agent, while maintaining sovereignty for themselves.

    Despite Lincoln’s effort to destroy the system of federalism and states’ rights that was championed by Jefferson and other founders by waging total war on the South, many Americans still believed in the Jeffersonian states’ rights ideal as of the 1880s. Despite all the death and destruction of the war, and several subsequent decades of Lincolnian propaganda about the alleged evils of states’ rights, many Americans still viewed federalism and states’ rights as a safeguard against federal tyranny – just as the American founding fathers, especially Jefferson, had done.

  3. Also of interest is DiLorenzo’s article Let’s put myths to rest, from May of 2003, wherein he discusses the following myths about Lincoln and the Civil War:

    Myth #1: Lincoln invaded the South to free the slaves.

    Myth #2: Lincoln’s war saved the Union.

    Myth #3: Lincoln championed equality and natural rights.

    Myth #4: Lincoln was a defender of the Constitution.

    Myth #5: Lincoln was a “great humanitarian” who had “malice toward none.”

    Myth #6: War was necessary to end slavery.

  4. Mark,

    Isn’t that pretty much a restatement of how Britain felt about the colonies? Why was it a good thing that the colonies were able to break away from Britain, but not a good thing for the Southern states to attempt to declare their own sovereignty? Was it simply a case of might makes right?

    Not really. The big difference between the British manner of ruling the colonies and the South is that the South actually had a say in the governing of the nation as a whole. Granted, their power was diminishing because hey, the whole rest of the world gave up slavery, however, they were always represented fairly at Congress. Their concern, with the expansion of the west was that their power would so diminish that Northern states would upon a veto proof majority, alter the Constitution to abolish slavery. This fear was somewhat unfounded, as those against slavery were not necessarily in the majority in the North, and even when they would be, they understood that to suddenly abolish slavery meant that you had to put 4 million now free individuals somewhere other than on plantations. Just what do you do with 4 million people now free? Do you give them a state of their own out west? Do you bring them north? Do you let them stay south?

    Thomas DiLorenzo may quote Lincoln, but he needs to also go back further to both George Washington and Andrew Jackson who imply pretty strongly that it is actually the other way around, that the union should have and does have priority and superiority over the state. As for the myths, well….

    Myth #1: Lincoln invaded the South to free the slaves.

    First of all, Lincoln did not invade the South. The South attacked Fort Sumter unprovoked. Secondly, yes, it is true that Lincoln did not intend to free the slaves out of this war. He said so himself, which I quote at the end of my post.

    Myth #2: Lincoln’s war saved the Union.

    I don’t think anyone has ‘saved the union.’ Even George Washington saw that this country would be divided ever so, sadly, and he counselled long in his farewell address to remember the union over the local.

    and so on….

  5. Nice post Daniel, nice comments Mark.

    The issues involved in the Civil war have not been resolved.

    In many ways the same issues are reflected in the Iraq War, ie do we have the right to continue slavery (colonies inherited from the British) in the ME. Just as cotton was the foundation of the colonists economy, dependent on slavery, so are we dependent on cheap foreign oil, extracted from far below market price by force.

    Is it a coincidence that the Republican Party has morphed into a party of the south, where exploitation of human beings is condoned, and where those that appear different are demonized?

    How far we have strayed from Christian basics- love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, income equality, etc. Every time we stray, we accumulate karma, for which there is eventual blowback. Ever since WWII, when we created the CIA, overthrew Mossadegh in Iran to hang on to oil, we have accepted our right to manifest destiny, and the usurpation of foreign resources by deceit and force.

    We are just beginning to pay the piper. It is our turn to play “King George” and experience the futility of suppressing those determined to be free, and contest foreign interference in economic life.

    As General George Marshall stated:

    “Military power wins battles, but spiritual power wins wars.”

  6. I don’t think anyone has ’saved the union.’

    Can’t disagree with you there. Lincoln’s attempt to “save the union” made about as much sense as it would for a husband to threaten to shoot his wife should she ever decide that she wants out of the marriage. Maybe a divorce in this hypothetical doesn’t take place, but the marriage that remains is a sham and a union in name only.

    If someone wants out of a political union badly enough to start shooting people over it, why compound the problem by shooting back? About the only justification I can come up for doing so would be to claim that the dissolution of the union by the secession of the South threatened the very lives of those in the North. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone try to make that claim.

  7. Here’s another good DiLorenzo article on the non-indivisible United States: Lincoln’s Spectacular Lie, which contains the following:

    Virginia, New York and Rhode Island specifically reserved the right to withdraw from the Union if it ever became “destructive of our liberties.” (This is another plain historical fact that the delusional Jaffa angrily denied during my debate with him). Here’s what the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention put in writing:
    We the delegates of the people of Virginia . . . Do, in the name and behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them at their will . . .

    New York and Rhode Island made almost identical statements as conditions of ratifying the Constitution.

    The phrase “united States” is always in the plural in the Constitution, signifying not one consolidated government but that the independent and sovereign states were united in forming the federal government as their agent with only narrowly defined, delegated powers.

  8. Mark,

    The Founding Fathers, George Washington especially, saw something far grander in the Union than the South ever could envision. His words, for me, speak the clearest about the importance of the Union versus the importance of state rights. I quoted them above, but let me quote them again.

    The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts…

    The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations…

    But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

    and

    To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

    And he was a Southern slave-owner. He saw the Union as far more important than the local policies of the South, the North, the East, or the West.

  9. oh and as further evidence that indeed it was a rebellion I give you D&C 87:1

    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;
    2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.
    3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

    See, the South started it, the Lord says so. ;)

  10. Of course, the problem is that Washington was unable to speak on behalf of (or shall we say “dictate to”?) Virginia, New York and Rhode Island as to their ratifications of the Constitution being predicated on the idea that secession would remain a right reserved to the states in case things didn’t go in a way that was seen as favorable to the separate states.

    See Secession and Liberty for more info on this.

    From Secession and Liberty (emphasis is mine):

    The founders understood that democracy would inevitably evolve into a system of legalized plunder unless the plundered were given numerous escape routes and constitutional protections such as the separation of powers, the Bill of Rights, election of senators by state legislators, the electoral college, no income taxation, most governmental functions performed at the state and local levels, and myriad other constitutional limitations on the powers of the central government.

    The most important protection was the right of secession, which Peter Applebome of the New York Times suggests we should revive in light of the [2000] election returns. This was quite natural, for the United States were founded as the direct result of a war of secession waged against Great Britain. The very principle of the American Revolution was the right of secession against tyrannical government. The founders understood that even the threat of secession would hold would-be governmental tyrants in check.

  11. Mark,

    But the federal government was not a tyrannical government. Read Andrew Jackson’s words again from the first time that South Carolina attempted to leave the nation.

    Let me quote his words again:

    The ordinance is founded, not on the indefeasible right of resisting acts which are plainly unconstitutional, and too oppressive to be endured, but on the strange position that any one State may not only declare an act of Congress void, but prohibit its execution- that they may do this consistently with the Constitution-that the true construction of that instrument permits a State to retain its place in the Union, and yet be bound by no other of its laws than those it may choose to consider as constitutional. It is true they add, that to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution, but it is evident, that to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws. For, as by the theory, there is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the State, good or bad, must prevail. If it should be said that public opinion is a sufficient check against the abuse of this power, it may be asked why it is not deemed a sufficient guard against the passage of an unconstitutional act by Congress. There is, however, a restraint in this last case, which makes the assumed power of a State more indefensible, and which does not exist in the other. There are two appeals from an unconstitutional act passed by Congress-one to the judiciary, the other to the people and the States. There is no appeal from the State decision in theory; and the practical illustration shows that the courts are closed against an application to review it, both judges and jurors being sworn to decide in its favor. But reasoning on this subject is superfluous, when our social compact in express terms declares, that the laws of the United States, its Constitution, and treaties made under it, are the supreme law of the land; and for greater caution adds, “that the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” And it may be asserted, without fear of refutation, that no federative government could exist without a similar provision. Look, for a moment, to the consequence. If South Carolina considers the revenue laws unconstitutional, and has a right to prevent their execution in the port of Charleston, there would be a clear constitutional objection to their collection in every other port, and no revenue could be collected anywhere; for all imposts must be equal. It is no answer to repeat that an unconstitutional law is no law, so long as the question of its legality is to be decided by the State itself, for every law operating injuriously upon any local interest will be perhaps thought, and certainly represented, as unconstitutional, and, as has been shown, there is no appeal.

    If this doctrine had been established at an earlier day, the Union would have been dissolved in its infancy.

    Southern states had two courses to take besides leaving the Union. They could take up their cause with the people (the voters) or with the justices (the Judicial Branch). They did neither. Instead, they fled. If allowed to continue, America would have been destroyed.

  12. But the federal government was not a tyrannical government.

    Well, the South was certainly ticked off about something. Could the following be at least part of the problem?

    Then in the 1859-1860 congressional session the House of Representatives passed the Morrill tariff, followed by the Senate in the next session, in early 1861, just before Lincoln’s inauguration. The average rate would soon be elevated to 47.06 percent, according to Taussig.

    So, Southerners had been complaining bitterly about being plundered by the tariff, paying some 80 percent of it while, in their view, most of the money was being spent in the North. Then the Republican Party gains power and, before anyone expects a war, more than triples the average rate at a time when the tariff was the primary source of federal tax revenue; there was no income tax yet. Then Lincoln makes his First Inaugural Address and says it is his duty to “collect the duties and imposts” (among other things) and, as long as those much higher duties are collected, “there will be no invasion.”

    My interpretation of these events is this: The tripling of the average tariff rate was the keystone of the Republican Party platform of 1860, as Richard Bensel argues. Once in power, Lincoln announced to the South, effectively: We are going to make tax slaves out of you by tripling the rate of taxation, and as long as you collect these taxes there will be no military invasion. He was not going to back down to the South Carolinian nullifiers, as Andrew Jackson did.

    (See Rewriting Economic History.)

  13. Mark,

    Do you have any other references besides DiLorenzo?

  14. He is my favorite. What can I say?

  15. If allowed to continue, America would have been destroyed.

    Why? Was Britain destroyed after we left? Was India’s independence the downfall of Britain?

    Isn’t this continent big enough to allow more nations than just Canada, the U.S. and Mexico?

    As for DiLorenzo, is he wrong?

  16. Mark,

    It is my belief that a divided America would have ended up fighting for a very long time, always at conflict one with the other, in competition for which side could get the most land westward and southward. This would have destroyed the nation.

    Also, there is no way a divided America could have withstood the powerful German armies of the 1910s and 1940s, not to mention Japan’s powerful military.

    As for DiLorenzo, it’s not a matter of being wrong or right, it’s more a matter of his theories. He’s clearly trying to show that Lincoln was a bad guy, a selfish leader, interested more in the economics of the North than anything else. This leads a real scholar of the period to conclude that he is cherrypicking Lincoln (and the North). In other words, the whole situation is far more complicated than DiLorenzo is attempting to describe it. Yes, the economy factored in to the decisions of the North, just as it did for the decisions of the South. But to claim that war with the South would be in the North’s best economic interest is to not understand economic policies well. The North could have continued trade with the South without any concern about the morality of slavery. The relation would just have been between two nations rather than inter-state relations.

    I really don’t understand this need by many today to try to portray the South as innocent, and also as “peaceful.” It is one thing to try to get a full understanding of an event, but wholly another to try and fully reverse the traditional thinking of that event, especially when there really isn’t any new evidence that has not been looked at before.

  17. I really don’t understand this need by many today to try to portray the South as innocent, and also as “peaceful.”

    I don’t think the South was any more or less innocent or peaceful than the North was. My dispute (if you want to call it that) centers around the idea as to whether the Civil War had to be fought at all. Lincoln preserved by force the union, when it’s evident that secession was believed by at least some (not Lincoln, though) to be a right available to all states in the union at the time.

    I think that to claim the Civil War was fought largely about the question of slavery is inaccurate. Most disputes, at the bottom, are about money. Certainly slavery was an integral part of the economic circumstances of the nation, but other nations managed to do away with slavery without feeling the necessity of killing hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle the question.

    DiLorenzo’s main beef with Lincoln originates with the idealized view that we seem to have of him today. It’s a picture he sees as wildly inaccurate, and he’s attempting to show that Lincoln really wasn’t the saint that our second grade teachers would have us believe that he was. If Dubya seems to be getting away with murder with regard to our civil rights, Lincoln tread that ground way before Dubya did.

  18. Daniel,

    “In other words, the whole situation is far more complicated than DiLorenzo is attempting to describe it.”

    No, it is far more complicated than you are describing it. When you read history and pretend that the first shot fired by the South made them the aggressors in the conflict, you are the one doing the simplifying. The North knew the only way to get the South back in the Union was through force. There were still undecided states that had not yet chosen a side. The “first shot” was President Davis being outmaneuvered by President Lincoln so that Lincoln could unify the North. “Lincoln knew that his first task was to unite all these discordant elements [the North], and he knew, too, that the most effective way to do this was to wait an act of aggression by the South, exerting in the interim just enough pressure to provoke such an action, without exerting enough to justify it.” (The Civil War, Shelby Foote, p 44). However, after the attack on Sumter, Lincoln outmaneuvered even himself by calling for a 75,000 man militia draft. This demand for troops to be used against her kinsmen offended the buffer states and led to their secession from the Union (Foote, p 50). So you see, neither party was innocent. They both knew war was coming, and the initial maneuvers by either side were done to gain as much ground as possible before the conflict started. That said, the North could have stopped fighting at any time and recognized the South as a new country. Instead you champion the North as just in conquering a peacefully liberated people. Hmm. I would say you are the one that sounds like the “militant” one.

    “My point here is to make clear a few things, because—and I am continually surprised at this—today’s Republicans, especially the more militant, hardcore right-wing Christian kinds, believe the South was right, that the South was innocent, and that the war was not fought over slavery.”

    In your reply to Mark N you justified conquering a nation simply because it would make that country stronger. You are the hardcore militant one. You pretend that the Confederates were the aggressors because they fired the first shot, while at the same time explicitly arguing that the Union NEEDED to be preserved. Do you seriously believe if the South hadn’t fired the first shot, that the North would not have conquered the South? The idea that the North fought in the war because they were fired on first by the South is a joke. And you admit it with your reasoning.

    I could not be more surprised that you believe “force is not the best option to liberate a people” and are taking the stand you are on the Civil War. I am almost tempted to call it a logical fallacy :)

  19. Ditto.

  20. Mark,

    My dispute (if you want to call it that) centers around the idea as to whether the Civil War had to be fought at all. Lincoln preserved by force the union, when it’s evident that secession was believed by at least some (not Lincoln, though) to be a right available to all states in the union at the time.

    I do wonder if South Carolina did not fire on Fort Sumter if there would have been a war. I think that action sparked the fight. We will never know if they could have avoided conflict. That said, it wasn’t just Lincoln who didn’t think that secession was available for any state. As I quoted in my post, both Andrew Jackson and George Washington, both Southerners, also thought the same.

    I think that to claim the Civil War was fought largely about the question of slavery is inaccurate.

    Did you read the declarations of secession? Note in particular the declaration of secession by the state of Mississippi. Slavery was at the heart of their secessions.

    DiLorenzo’s main beef with Lincoln originates with the idealized view that we seem to have of him today.

    So DiLorenzo isn’t necessarily trying to just give us facts; his main purpose is to tear down the near-mythical image we have of Lincoln today. Unfortunately that doesn’t help us understand the era better, because DiLorenzo is writing from our perspective rather than trying to show us the whole picture as Lincoln and those around him saw it.

  21. Templar,

    When you read history and pretend that the first shot fired by the South made them the aggressors in the conflict, you are the one doing the simplifying.

    Well, let’s see the North was not preparing any sudden attack, and as such the South was not justified through a pre-emptive strike. As such any action that the South took was aggressive in nature, and as such they were the ones who started the fighting, and the war. We’ll never know if war could have been averted if South Carolina didn’t attack Fort Sumter.

    The North knew the only way to get the South back in the Union was through force.

    Can you please share your evidence of this.

    The “first shot” was President Davis being outmaneuvered by President Lincoln so that Lincoln could unify the North.

    Diplomatic and strategic maneuvering is not warfare, Templar.

    That said, the North could have stopped fighting at any time and recognized the South as a new country. Instead you champion the North as just in conquering a peacefully liberated people.

    Where does this logic come from? That the North could have stopped at any time. That is a revision of history, a devious attempt to portray the North as rampaging aggressors upon the poor innocent “liberated” South. Sorry, but that’s not an accurate portrayal of what happened and will not pass muster here.

    You pretend that the Confederates were the aggressors because they fired the first shot, while at the same time explicitly arguing that the Union NEEDED to be preserved.

    Right. That is correct.

    Do you seriously believe if the South hadn’t fired the first shot, that the North would not have conquered the South?

    Yes, but by this point, we would be speculating. In this post, I’m merely stating things as they happened. The South started the conflict. This is indisputable. All the maneuvering that occurred before South Carolina fired that first shot occurred on both sides, and as such is not indicative of who was the aggressor. The only thing remaining to judge who was the aggressor is who started shooting. That would be the South.

    I could not be more surprised that you believe “force is not the best option to liberate a people” and are taking the stand you are on the Civil War.

    Force is not the best option to liberate a people. That is correct. The Civil War was not about “liberating” the South, though, was it. As such any comparison to the other post is invalid.

    I am almost tempted to call it a logical fallacy

    But of course, you would be in the wrong….again ;)

  22. Daniel, first I just want to say thank you for actually debating the issue. I really enjoy discussing these issues.

    I have to say though, that your first shot theory about conflict is a gross oversimplification, and I’ll tell you why.

    There were many engagements in which fire was exchanged and war was averted.

    The biggest of which was the Cuban Missile Crisis. During the crisis, a U.S. Destroyer Fired star shells at a Russian freighter as it approached the Cuban harbor and refused to stop at the quarantine. Yet another “First shot” could have been the shooting down of US spy planes by Russian soldiers inside Cuba.

    Another great example of a “first shot” that didn’t start a war was during the Iranian Hostage crisis. President Carter approved of a plan to rescue the American hostages. Part of the operation called for the American Special Forces to land in the Iranian desert to refuel. During that part of the mission, an Iranian fuel truck ended up driving by the Americans on a nearby road. The commander in charge of the operation told one of his men to “stop the truck”. The operative then fired an anti-tank round, which struck the vehicle causing a massive fireball and killing the driver.

    It is a good thing other countries understand that conflict is way more complex then just who fired first…

  23. I’m not sure what your point is, though, hospitaller. It doesn’t matter if other wars were averted. If you actually look at the Civil War more carefully you’ll find that South Carolina actually fired twice at the North, both times without provocation and only after the second time, with the full on assault of Fort Sumter did the North finally strike back.

    Now can you show me another example in history where one nation’s entire fort was besieged and that nation did not strike back? I highly doubt it, but I’ll leave it open to be surprised.

  24. In other words, whatever happened in other conflicts does not change the fact that the South began the Civil War. It might do you well to stick to talking just about the Civil War on this thread.

  25. Daniel,

    Just a quick point of clarification about what I said,

    “The “first shot” was President Davis being outmaneuvered by President Lincoln so that Lincoln could unify the North.”

    To this you reply:
    “Diplomatic and strategic maneuvering is not warfare, Templar.”

    I do not think I was clear here in what I wrote. I was not claiming the strategic maneuvering was the “first shot” of the war, only that the “first shot” was used for strategic maneuvering. When Davis authorized the first shot of the war, he was outmaneuvered by Lincoln. Lincoln knew this would unite the North, Davis played into Lincoln’s hands by firing the first shot. I wasn’t saying Lincoln fired the first shot of the war. You are quite right about the facts you recount of history. The South was the first one to fire on the enemy.

  26. “If you actually look at the Civil War more carefully you’ll find that South Carolina actually fired twice at the North…”

    Ah, so it is dependent on the number of shots fired? Silly me…

    :o

  27. nah, just further evidence that in the case of the Civil War, the evidence is indisputable that the South started the conflict.

  28. Daniel,

    “and only after the second time, with the full on assault of Fort Sumter did the North finally strike back. ” and then the North proceeded to use force to subdue all of the Confederacy into unconditionally surrendering. That is the part I find hard to justify, as you do, with the fact that the South fired on a fort in their territory that the North refused to vacate. You also might like to know there were no casualties in that engagement.

    You use the events of the first shot to portray the aggressive nature of the South “The garrison had told the South Carolina soldiers that they were due to run out of provisions fairly soon. That did not stop South Carolina from the bombardment.” But you forgot to include one important fact. Here is what Shelby Foote writes,

    “He heard their demand and replied that he would evacuate the fort “by noon of the 15th instant” unless he recieved “controlling instructions from my government, or additional supplies.” This last of course with the relief fleet standing just outside the harbor – though Anderson did not know it had arrived – made the guarantee short lived at best and therefore unnacceptable to the aides…” Remember the diplomatic negotiotion happened on the 12th, with ships just outside the harbor they would surely arrive by the 15th. They were not going to run out supplies, yet you seem to propose that they were going to, and that the South was aggresive because they couldn’t wait for the surrender so they attacked.

    “In this post, I’m merely stating things as they happened.” Of course you are, you just leave out things that don’t support your claims.

  29. and just what point are YOU making, Templar? You don’t seem to want to debate, but instead cross me with my own words. Just one thing, I never said this was a comprehensive look at the war. Or did you fail to see those words right at the start of this post? Heck if I wanted to be comprehensive, I’d right a book like Mr. Foote.

    But seriously, what point are you making? That the South didn’t start the war?

    No one disputes that the North wasn’t innocent, so really what is your point? Because to this point all you are seemingly doing is attempting to find fault with my words. If that’s the case, I’m done here.

  30. I’m attempting to understand your thinking. And I believe Templar is trying to find sense in your words, which is proving to be an audious task.

    The use of force is not the best option to liberate a people. But it seems clear that the North was justified to use force in order to liberate a people (preserve the union.). There are exceptions to the “the use of force is not the best option…” theory.

    Theoretical question for you,

    If a small nation starts a conflict with a huge nation, and the huge nation defeats the small nation to the point at which they aren’t really a threat any more, yet the large nation decides to continue the fight until there is an unconditional surrender. Does the large nation not become the agressor?

    God is telling me, that right now you’re wondering what my point is, so I will give an example.

    -The Hundred years war between England and France.

    England started the conflict, yet it is safe to say that both were agressors at one point or another during the conflict.

  31. hospitaller,

    But it seems clear that the North was justified to use force in order to liberate a people (preserve the union.).

    Dude! The North was not attempting to “liberate” the South. Don’t you get that yet? Don’t you see the striking contradiction in your very own words? “liberate a people (preserve the union).”

    As for your example, yeah, you’re really stretching now. Admit it dude, you lost this debate. Time to move on.

  32. Daniel,

    My point is that just because the South fired the first shots, does not make them the aggressors. In my eyes, the fact that the North would not stop until they had unconditional surrender from the South is what makes the North the aggressors. Evidence that the North would not stop until they reached that goal are: the refusal to evacuate Sumter so that the South would fire first shot and unite the North, the refusal of the North to recognize the South as a government, the next four years of history in which the North would slowly force the South to give up its freedom, and in those four years the North could have stopped fighting at any time without giving up their own freedom. In showing that the North was the aggresive party in the Civil War, I am only demonstrating that you can fight an aggressive war and still be justified in doing so.

    “Further, you cannot use Churchill as an example to justify aggressive warfare, because he never espoused aggressive warfare. He espoused to be prepared, and that you have to defend yourself, a far cry from what you’ve espoused.”

    If I can’t use Churchill, then I will use Lincoln.

  33. templar,

    Let’s review your reasons:

    the refusal to evacuate Sumter so that the South would fire first shot and unite the North,

    This could be considered an aggressive move, however, it doesn’t compare with South Carolina’s secession. You talk about an aggressive move? That one outweighs the North not leaving Fort Sumter.

    the refusal of the North to recognize the South as a government,

    This one is incorrect. The North always recognized the South leaders and always worked with them when politically feasible.

    the next four years of history in which the North would slowly force the South to give up its freedom,

    Yes, that’s right because the North is an evil empire bent on destroying “free-loving” people! Give me a break. This one does not even come close to passing muster.

    and in those four years the North could have stopped fighting at any time without giving up their own freedom.

    How far along are you in reading Shelby Foote’s account of the Civil War? Have you gotten to the part where the South entered into Northern territories? Or have you forgotten that Gettysburg, for example, is located in Pennsylvania, a North state?

    No, the North could not have stopped fighting at any time without giving up their own freedom.

    So to this point, you still have failed to provide an adequate rebuttal and my point stands.

    and no you cannot rely on Lincoln, because the analogy does not fit. Try again.

  34. “South Carolina’s secession. You talk about an aggressive move?”

    So you could say that the US’s declaration of independence from England was “aggressive”?

  35. “have you forgotten that Gettysburg, for example, is located in Pennsylvania, a North state?”

    Daniel,

    Gettysburg happened because General Lee wanted to lift the siege at Vicksburg. He also wanted to prolong the impending Summer campaign by the North, and he believed that the rich farmlands of the North would help feed his armies.

    Those were the main reasons Gettysburg happened in the first place. Lee had no intention of conquering the North. The North on the other hand, had every intention of conquering the South.

  36. I think we’re done, hospitaller. You keep stretching to find any semblance of a justification for aggressive warfare. You won’t find much at all. As such I’m done debating here. You can keep posting all you want, but I won’t be responding to any continuation of this debate.

  37. Daniel,

    I guess you and I will just have to agree to disagree on this issue.

    I’ll let Grant sum up my point,

    “I have never advocated war except as a means of peace.”
    -Ulysses S. Grant

    God bless,

    -Knight

  38. P.S.

    The war was fought over slavery occording to the title.

    The North therefore liberated the South,

    Liberate, “To release from restraint or bondage; to set at liberty; to
    free.”

  39. Daniel,

    One last quote from Shelby Foote,

    “Three of them were in Washington now, sent there from Montgomery as commissioners to accomplish “the speedy adjustment of all questions growing out of separation, as the respective interests, geographical contiguity, and future welfare of the two nations may render necessary.” They had much to offer and much to ask. The Confederate Congress having opened the navigation of the lower Mississippi to the northern states, they expected to secure in return the evacuation of Sumter and the Florida forts, along with much else. Lincoln however would not see them. To have done so would have been to give over the constitutional reasoning that what was taking place in Alabama was merely a “rebellion” by private persons, no more entitled to send representatives to the rightful government than any other band of outlaws.” (Foote, p 45)

    The North refused to recognize the South as a government. This is not incorrect.

  40. Templar,

    You’re right, the North did not recognize the Confederacy. It still does not prove Lincoln was the aggressor, especially when you have this:

    However, Lincoln being a strict follower of the constitution, would not take any action against the South unless the Unionists themselves were attacked first. It finally happened in April 1861.

    In the end of it all, the South fought against the inexorable tide towards freedom for blacks, sought to break away from the Constitution and the Union, were reeled back in by the North, and through the very war slaves were freed. No wonder the South is still feeling rather raw about the Civil War, even 150 years later. Unfortunately, we cannot revise history.

  41. I think you get the feeling that I sympathize with the South. I do not. The North was completely justified in doing what they did. They did in fact use force to liberate a people, unless slaves don’t count as people.

  42. hospitaller,

    we’re going in circles, so unless you have something new to add, I’m not going to respond anymore.

    The North did not fight the Civil War to free slaves. The South seceded from the Union because their practice of slavery was threatened with the inexorable expansion westward of the Union with states joining the free North. The North fought the South to preserve the Union the South dismissed (even though their previous Southern leaders—George Washington and Andrew Jackson—espoused the Union over the individual state). The South started the conflict. The North proclaimed the Emancipation Proclamation as a military strategy. Take away the economic power the South had by telling slaves they were free if they came north was a military strategy and not the overriding goal of the reason why the North fought.

    As such, the North did not use its military strength to “free the slaves.” They merely proclaimed to Southern slaves that they were free and left it up to them to do what they would of it.

    So please, will you stop being foolishly stubborn, hospitaller. I know you’d love to justify our current conflicts with instances of warfare from the past, but there really are few if any examples that you can use to justify our aggressive war. Sorry, but that’s just how life is. It sucks sometimes.

    With that, if you don’t have anything new to add, I’m done here.

  43. [...] worse about those Americans in South Carolina (though we shouldn’t be surprised, seeing South Carolina’s history for violence that they would love a joke about such [...]

  44. [...] have written a newer post, more detailed and comprehensive about the reasons for the civil war. Please take a [...]

  45. your story is too long. And you guys are boring.

  46. Daniel,

    Great post. I appreciate your admiration of Washington and furhtermore your admiration of the Union. Many good things said however not everything you said was correct.

    Like it or not, Lincoln did invade the South. It was Union war ships that were sent to Charleston after the fall of Fort Sumter and not Confederate boats sent the opposite direction. As I recall, with the exception of the few engagements in Pennsylvania, all battles and engagements took place on Southern soil.

    South Carolina was not innocent, but they did have the right to secede from the Union. Although once Federal property, I can understand their need to occupy the defenses of their state and ask for the surrender of these posts. Had they not their secession would have been brief and incomplete at best. The US refused, but even after SC took possession they took no prisoners and still allowed the US soldiers to walk away. That is not war.

    South Carolina wanted to be left alone. Likewise, the Confederate States of America wanted to form a new nation and be left alone. Lincoln was granted approval from Congress to declare war on these states. The US did not have to respond to Fort Sumter with force, but did. It is the United States that turned this conflict into a war. Without the invasion of the Confederate states by the US there would not have been a war.

    Slavery was a terrible injustice towards humanity but for those who think that the thousands upon thousands of boys and men who offered their time, and many their lives, in service to the Confederate States of America in order to preserve slavery are nothing short of narrow minded and misled. Less than 1/3 of the population of the Southern states even owned slaves, the majority of the Confederate soldiers came from small towns and hamlets all over the South to do one thing, to defend and fight for their respective states. Slavery was not an issue for them, the fact that Federal soldiers were about to invade their state was the issue. Many blacks in these communities, free and slave, supported the Confederacy, some even served in the Confederate army. The Confederate States were for state’s rights and for some that admittedly did mean the right to own slaves but for most it meant so much more than that.

    As you have already pointed out, the US went to war to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery. The Confederate states even once considered freeing the slaves for the same reasons that Lincoln did, to help win the war. So much for a war fought over slavery. Ironically, freeing the slaves had little impact on the outcome of the war. The sheer numbers of available men and industrial might of the North eventually wore the South down.

    I am thankful our Union stands strong today. As Americans we should all stand together and stop allowing the events of 140+ years ago continue to divide some. This war was not all about slavery but thankfully the war did bring it to a close.

  47. Well said William.

  48. William,

    Thank you for your comments. As you can probably guess, I respectfully disagree with you. The South felt threatened by the increasing political power of the North, and the trend it was taking in making the United States slave-free. Slavery was a staple of life for the South. The secession declarations from each state specifically names slavery as the key issue of concern. Mississippi’s is most amusing, which I’ll quote again:

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

    That was the reason each state gave for secession: the institution of slavery. That was the very reason for their secession. Now granted, the North was not “threatened” by any kind of invasion by the South. Most likely the South was quite willing to leave the North be. But if anyone were to objectively follow the future path of a divided land, like all divided countries in the world, eventually the division would lead to bloodshed. But that’s only one possibility. Heck, maybe ten years later, the South would have come to their senses on their own, given up slavery and rejoined the Union. But I personally don’t think that would have been a possible future. My personal feeling is that at some point, it would have come inexorably to violence.

    The South’s actions were unconstitutional (as shown with the writings of both Washington and Jackson), and the North made the right move to, well, to put it kindly, to put the South in its place. And of course to add insult to injury for the South, not only did they lose their bid for secession, but the North, through a military strategy proclaimed all slaves free. A brilliant move politically and militarily, taking advantage of the war to free slaves.

    The Civil War has slavery written all over it. Anyone saying otherwise is rewriting history.

  49. Wow, that pretty much comes back to the point I made in March. You just said that the North fought a war to liberate a people, and that you agreed that it was the best course of action. You are a human manifestation of contradiction…

  50. hospitaller,

    I’m scratching my head, befuddled…just where did I state that the North fought a war to liberate a people? I said the North put the South in its place. They did not respond to Southern aggression to free the slaves, but used the emancipation as a military strategy to reduce the South’s manpower. Keep trying to stretch to justify our war of aggression in Iraq, hospitaller. You’re going to have to find at minimum an example that actually fits. The Civil War does not.

  51. Dan my man,

    “I said the North put the South in its place.”

    How did the North do this? They did it by going on an all out offensive against the South. And this is ok in YOUR mind? What ever happened to war only being justified for defense?

    I’m not trying to make a point about Iraq anymore. I’m simply trying to understand just what the heck you actually believe… Needless to say, my head is spinning.

  52. hospitaller,

    I’m afraid you’ll never understand.

    I’m just curious how you come in here and only check this particular post. Do you have it like bookmarked or something?

  53. I check “My Comments.” Tis simple…

  54. ah silly me, I forgot about that service. (I rarely use it).

  55. Daniel,

    “My point here is to make clear a few things, because—and I am continually surprised at this—today’s Republicans, especially the more militant, hardcore right-wing Christian kinds, believe the South was right, that the South was innocent, and that the war was not fought over slavery.”

    The South SECEDED because of slavery. The North INVADED to preserve the Union. The war would not have been fought if the North did not invade the South. Therefore the war was not fought over slavery.

  56. One more thing,

    “Now granted, the North was not “threatened” by any kind of invasion by the South. Most likely the South was quite willing to leave the North be. But if anyone were to objectively follow the future path of a divided land, like all divided countries in the world, eventually the division would lead to bloodshed.”

    Wait a minute, that would be a pre-emptive strike which you seem to think are bad “…the North was not preparing any sudden attack, and as such the South was not justified through a pre-emptive strike.” (from post 21)

    Also, you say in the introduction:

    “My point here is to make clear a few things, because—and I am continually surprised at this—today’s Republicans, especially the more militant, hardcore right-wing Christian kinds, believe the South was right, that the South was innocent, and that the war was not fought over slavery.”

    Then in post 48, “A brilliant move politically and militarily, taking advantage of the war to free slaves.” Are you saying that the North took advantage of a war to free slaves to free slaves?

    I am afraid we do not understand because we are confused.

  57. templar,

    The war would not have been fought if the North did not invade the South.

    Yeah, and the war would also not have been fought if the south did not secede.

    Therefore the war was not fought over slavery.

    Of course it was. That was the reason for secession, and thus for “putting the South in its place.”

  58. templar,

    it wasn’t a pre-emptive attack. You really don’t understand what a pre-emptive attack is do you. Why don’t you do your research first, and then we’ll continue.

  59. Daniel,

    “Now granted, the North was not “threatened” by any kind of invasion by the South. Most likely the South was quite willing to leave the North be. But if anyone were to objectively follow the future path of a divided land, like all divided countries in the world, eventually the division would lead to bloodshed.”

    A preemptive strike is engaging in conflict to prevent future conflict.

    Did the North not invade the South so they could prevent a division that would eventually, “lead to bloodshed” ???

    How is Templar wrong here? I believe that it is you who should re-evaluate your definition of “preemptive strike”.

  60. hospitaller,

    That is not the definition of “pre-emptive strikes.” Please try again.

  61. My bad. You were right (at least according to wikipedia), that your idea is not a pre-emptive strike. It is a preventive war. In other words, the North invaded the South to prevent a hypothitecal violent situation. Good job, you just justified the actions the North took in the same manner that Bush convinced the U.S. to invade Iraq. You might also like to know that Wikipedia calls this “a war of aggresion.” I look forward to your response :)

  62. Templar,

    I’m glad you’re learning even if you’re only using wikipedia. But you’re still not describing the incident correctly. The war the North and South fought is not a “preventive war” either. Please try again.

  63. Daniel,

    “Now granted, the North was not “threatened” by any kind of invasion by the South. Most likely the South was quite willing to leave the North be. But if anyone were to objectively follow the future path of a divided land, like all divided countries in the world, eventually the division would lead to bloodshed… My personal feeling is that at some point, it would have come inexorably to violence.”

    From what you wrote, about the division leading to bloodshed, that is the reasoning used for fighting a preventive war. You are right in that the actual war was not a preventive war at all. I was just making the point that you were trying to justify the Civil War with the same reasoning used to justify a preventive war.

    I am curious, if the South had not fired the first shots, would you still maintain that the North was not the aggresive party? (Assuming the rest of the war remained the same)

  64. Templar,

    Try as you may, but you are still failing at making the Civil War into a battle between two nation-states. It was not. The South seceded unconstitutionally, and the North put them in their place. Andrew Jackson said it best back in the 1820s when South Carolina had previously attempted to say that the federal laws were moot for them, and they would choose not to follow them. I’ll quote him again. The reference is above:

    It is true they add, that to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution, but it is evident, that to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws. For, as by the theory, there is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the State, good or bad, must prevail.

    The South basically wanted its cake and eat it too. They wanted to follow only the laws they wished to follow. But as Andrew Jackson clearly states, giving “the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws.”

    Such actions are clearly unconstitutional, and as such the consequences must be severe if the Union as a whole is to survive. So, no, this was not a preventive war either. This was putting down a rebellion, putting in their place those who would destroy the Union.

  65. Daniel,

    You told me that I have failed at making the civil war a battle between two nation states. Are you sure you want to tell me that? The following are your arguments that the South started the conflict by firing on the North.

    “I do wonder if South Carolina did not fire on Fort Sumter if there would have been a war. I think that action sparked the fight. We will never know if they could have avoided conflict.” (post 20)

    “Well, let’s see the North was not preparing any sudden attack, and as such the South was not justified through a pre-emptive strike. As such any action that the South took was aggressive in nature, and as such they were the ones who started the fighting, and the war. We’ll never know if war could have been averted if South Carolina didn’t attack Fort Sumter.” (post 21)

    “The South started the conflict. This is indisputable. All the maneuvering that occurred before South Carolina fired that first shot occurred on both sides, and as such is not indicative of who was the aggressor. The only thing remaining to judge who was the aggressor is who started shooting. That would be the South.” (post 21)

    “If you actually look at the Civil War more carefully you’ll find that South Carolina actually fired twice at the North, both times without provocation and only after the second time, with the full on assault of Fort Sumter did the North finally strike back. Now can you show me another example in history where one nation’s entire fort was besieged and that nation did not strike back? I highly doubt it, but I’ll leave it open to be surprised.” (post 23)

    “just further evidence that in the case of the Civil War, the evidence is indisputable that the South started the conflict.” (post 27)

    “You’re right, the North did not recognize the Confederacy. It still does not prove Lincoln was the aggressor, especially when you have this: However, Lincoln being a strict follower of the constitution, would not take any action against the South unless the Unionists themselves were attacked first. It finally happened in April 1861.”
    (post 40)

    “The South started the conflict.” (post 42)

    So you don’t think that the Civil War was a war between two nation states, but you argue that the South started the war. You see, I never had to make the Civil War a war between two nation states, you did that for me by arguing that the South started the war. So when you say that I am “failing at making the Civil War into a battle between two nation-states” apparently you mean that I have failed at making you convince yourself :) If the South was not a nation, how could they start the war? Or to put it another way, if the South never started the war, would the rebellion never have been put down?

  66. Oh by the way,

    “So, no, this was not a preventive war either.” Who are you talking to? Yourself? I do not think it was a preventive war. You are the one that talked about the justification of the war in those terms:

    “It is my belief that a divided America would have ended up fighting for a very long time, always at conflict one with the other, in competition for which side could get the most land westward and southward. This would have destroyed the nation. Also, there is no way a divided America could have withstood the powerful German armies of the 1910s and 1940s, not to mention Japan’s powerful military.” (post 16)

    “But if anyone were to objectively follow the future path of a divided land, like all divided countries in the world, eventually the division would lead to bloodshed. But that’s only one possibility. Heck, maybe ten years later, the South would have come to their senses on their own, given up slavery and rejoined the Union. But I personally don’t think that would have been a possible future. My personal feeling is that at some point, it would have come inexorably to violence.” (post 48)

  67. About the pre-emptive strike thing. The North as you so plainly explain, believed the South to be nothing more than a rebellion. If someone believes you are a rebel, you would have to be an idiot to believe they are not going to attack you. As such, “the North was not preparing any sudden attack, and as such the South was not justified through a pre-emptive strike” is not true. It was justified because the South was viewed as a rebellion. Therefore they could, with a high degree of certainty, expect to be attacked.

  68. Nice…

  69. Templar,

    a preventive war, and a pre-emptive war are both between two nation states. The South was not a nation-state. It was a rebellious secession. As such any action taken by the real holders of the Constitution, the North, was justified, not aggressive, and correct. The South started the conflict by attacking Fort Sumter.

    And further, it is not I who brought up the “pre-emptive and preventive war” tangent, but you:

    My bad. You were right (at least according to wikipedia), that your idea is not a pre-emptive strike. It is a preventive war.

    So I’m going to say now, unless you talk about something new, I will not be responding to any future comments of yours.

  70. Daniel,

    My point here is to make clear a few things, because—and I am continually surprised at this—today’s Democrats, especially the more liberal, pacifist left-wing Mormon kinds, believe the North was right, that the North was innocent, and that the war was fought over slavery. (Sound familiar? How does it feel to be accused of something you don’t believe?)

    These liberal, pacifist left-wing Mormons believe the South started the conflict by firing on the North. Ha. They say this while at the same time maintaining that the South was not a nation-state, but a rebellion. (Mind you, a rebellion that had a government, a rebellion that had an army, a rebellion that had a constitution. Sounds like a sophisticated rebellion.) It is a contradiction to believe that a rebellion can start a war by firing first on a nation. Is not the nation by definition at war with the rebellion? Hardly suprising that such a contradiction would be argued by a liberal pacifist left wing Moron (oops I meant Mormon).

    Let me pre-empt your next move, which will be to either delete my post, or to respond by saying that I am a horrible person because I attack my opponent instead of debate them, and say that I enjoyed this debate because I learned a few things.

  71. de·ni·al(d-nl)
    n.
    1. A refusal to comply with or satisfy a request.
    2. A refusal to grant the truth of a statement or allegation; a contradiction.
    3.
    a. A refusal to accept or believe something, such as a doctrine or belief.
    b. Psychology An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.
    .
    4. Daniel…

  72. No, the debate ended long ago, when I won. ;)

    Now we’re wasting space.

  73. The South was not a nation-state. It was a rebellious secession.

    So, how is that different from how Great Britain viewed the colonies in 1776? We said we were a nation-state, despite what King George had to say on the subject.

    I guess we were right only because we won (or they gave up). And thus we see how history is written by the victors.

  74. Mark,

    Wars and events are not static entities, they change, and sometimes quite drastically. The way the story ends will say everything about the story as a whole. The British indeed did not see us as a nation-state, but a wayward rebellion needing to be taught a lesson. In this respect it is understandable why some would want to compare the South’s leaving the Union to the original position of the 13 colonies. There are many large differences, however, between the Revolutionary War (even though it wasn’t technically a revolution per se) and the situation in the Civil War. For one, and I think this is the biggest difference, the 13 colonies had no representation in the British parliament, and as such no influence in the creation of laws that affected them. The South did. The South, like a petulant selfish boy, wanted to follow only laws they wanted to follow and did not understand the significance of the greater Union (so eloquently described by George Washington in his Farewell Address).

    In the Revolutionary War, the British gave us legitimacy by letting us follow our fancies and creating our own nation-state. They felt that prolonged conflict was not going to be good for them. What Union was there to preserve? The British felt they could still control this “colony” in their empire through economic leverages.

    The South’s actions were going to destroy the Union as they knew it, and as we know it today. George Washington warned about this disunion. He saw it coming and wished the parties would harken to his words, that the Union as a whole was of greater priority than local state politics and priorities. The South never understood this, but their actions were going to destroy the Union. As such, they needed to be put in their place.

    Now, what would have happened if the North gave legitimacy to the South’s secession? Well, then you’d have a new nation state born out of the division. In the 1860s it was no one’s right to give legitimacy to this new “nation state” except the North, the holders of the original Union. This was partly what the battle was about. The secession was about the rights of slavery. The North’s actions were about preserving the Union as a whole. The South’s violence was about getting legitimacy. If the South won, they would have been legitimate. If the South lost, they had no legitimacy to start with.

    In other words, one cannot say the South was a nation-state of its own in 1860, as the situation was unresolved. If the North did nothing to respond to the South’s provocations, then it would be legitimate. If the North responded, then the South’s legitimacy is in question until the conflict ended.

  75. In the 1860s it was no one’s right to give legitimacy to this new “nation state” except the North, the holders of the original Union.

    Huh?

    This is a new one on me. Essentially, what you’ve said here is that the South was owned by the North, and you’ve just made slave-owners of the North over the South.

    From the link to an article on the rights of secession:

    “Perhaps the most important violation of the law of free association, at least on pragmatic grounds, occurs in the political realm. This is crucial, because other infringements, such as affirmative action, union legislation, etc., stem from political sources. If freedom of association in the realm of affirmative action is the right to discriminate, and in the field of labor the right to hire a “scab,” then when it comes to the political realm, it is the right to secession.

    “Those who are not free to secede are in effect (partial) slaves to a king, or to a tyrannous majority under democracy. Nor is secession to be confused with the mere right to emigrate, even when one is allowed to take one’s property out of the country. Secession means the right to stay put, on one’s own property, and either to shift alliance to another political entity, or to set up shop as a sovereign on one’s own account.

    “Why should the man who wishes to secede from a government have to vacate his land? For surely, even under the philosophy of statists, it was the people who came first. Government, in the minarchist libertarian view, was only instituted by them in order to achieve certain ends, later, after they had come to own their property. That is to say, the state is a creation of the people, not the people a creation of the state. But if a government was once invited in, to provide certain services, then it can also be uninvited, or invited to leave, or expelled. To deny this is to assert that the government was there first, before there were even any people. But how can this be? Government is not a disembodied entity, composed of creatures other than human (although, perhaps, there may be legitimate doubts about this on the part of some); rather, it is comprised of flesh and blood, albeit for the most part evil, people.

    “Given, then, that secession is a human right, part and parcel of the right to free association, how can we characterize those who oppose this? Who would use force and violence, of all things, in order to compel unwilling participants to join in, or to remain part of, a political entity they wish to have nothing to do with? Why, as would be slave holders, of a sort.”

  76. Mark,

    Essentially yes. The Union was not a contract of free association, but binding on all parties. Essentially, the South needed to get the approval of the rest of the nation in order to leave. I thought Andrew Jackson’s remarks on the subject were quite clear as to why this was important. Let me repeat them here:

    It is true they add, that to justify this abrogation of a law, it must be palpably contrary to the Constitution, but it is evident, that to give the right of resisting laws of that description, coupled with the uncontrolled right to decide what laws deserve that character, is to give the power of resisting all laws. For, as by the theory, there is no appeal, the reasons alleged by the State, good or bad, must prevail.

    I obviously disagree (and I believe most scholars would also) with Mr. Block regarding the application of the law of free association to our Union. That is not how this country was founded. Tell me, could any state just join the Union or must it have the approval of the other states to join? If it must have the approval of other states to join, why can it just leave on its own without the approval of the other states?

    The South never understood the importance of the Union as a whole. Even when two of their own, George Washington and Andrew Jackson spelled it out quite clearly.

    I can see now why libertarianism will never be anything but a fringe philosophy. Advocating free association? That means I can choose out of my own free will not to have to pay taxes and still stay put where I am? Talk about the anarchy that would ensue!

    Yes, we are slaves on this planet. We really aren’t free. Then again the United States is not really a democracy, but a representative republic. We abrogate our political duty to others, hoping they would represent us correctly. It is not I who goes into the Senate room to vote on the latest bills. Also, I am bound by the vote there, even if it is against my wishes, because that is what I’ve signed on to.

    On this planet there is no such thing as a real independence. It is an illusion. There is no such thing as free association. It does not exist. It is a sham. We are too interconnected, especially in today’s world. Perhaps Mr. Block’s ideal world could have been possible back in the days of agrarian societies where you had to get your own food, but not in today’s world. It is impossible.

  77. See The Right of Secession by Gene H. Kizer, Jr., and Do States Have a Right of Secession? by Walter A. Williams.

    From the first link above:

    “The revolutionary right of secession is based on the Declaration of Independence and the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and John Locke, that

    whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, . . .

    These words come directly from the Declaration of Independence. This passage was also used, verbatim, in South Carolina’s Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. A similar sentiment was expressed by Abraham Lincoln in 1847 on the floor of the United States House of Representatives:

    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.

    Horace Greely’s New York Daily Tribune published a long, emotional editorial on December 17, 1860, the day South Carolina’s Secession Convention began, strongly supporting the right of secession on the revolutionary basis. The Tribune used the exact same passage used in South Carolina’s Declaration of Immediate Causes, which comes from the Declaration of Independence, reiterating that the “just powers” of government come from the “consent of the governed” and “‘whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute a new government,’ &c., &c.”, adding that

    We do heartily accept this doctrine, believing it intrinsically sound, beneficent, and one that, universally accepted, is calculated to prevent the shedding of seas of human blood. And, if it justified the secession from the British Empire of Three Millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of Five Millions of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861.

    The Tribune goes on to say it “could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation,” because “We hold the right of self-government sacred,” and if the Southern States want out, “we shall feel constrained by our devotion to Human Liberty to say, Let Them Go!”, because self-government is one of the “Rights of Man.”

  78. Mark,

    the issues of secession are one thing, but the laws of free association are wholly another, and the two are not related. There is no such thing as free association (except at a very low level of group participation). The reason being that there are very strong consequences for leaving a certain organization, group, institution, and/or state.

    Now, as far as whether or not the South was Constitutionally right in seceding, I hearken back to the words of George Washington himself, a Southerner, and our first president.

    To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a constitution of government better calculated than your former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

    You quote John Locke and Thomas Jefferson who wrote:

    whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government

    But that is not the reason why the South left the Union. They left specifically because they did not like the direction things were heading in regards to slavery and the West. It was not an issue of the Union becoming destructive of the ends for which it was established. In fact, the South, by stubbornly refusing to let go of slavery, fought against the very principles of freedom for blacks that was flourishing all over the world except in places like Georgia.

    The South was not standing for some noble principle, Mark. Their desires were completely selfish, wholly to keep their way of life going on, even though the world around them progressed to something better. Just what was the South fighting for?

  79. It doesn’t matter what the motives of the South were; the fact is that the Constitution did not prohibit secession, and the rights not spelled out in the Constitution were reserved to the states.

    One could even make the argument that the result of the War in Heaven was that Satan was given the desire of his heart, which was that he wanted to exercise his own freedom of association and leave. The results for him weren’t at all favorable, but it was what he wanted (just as those who differ with the General Authorities on major points of doctrine are basically asking to secede from the Church), and even God recognized that there was no point in coercing him to remain a part of the heavenly family.

    As Alexis de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America, said (as quoted in “The Right of Secession”):

    The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; and in uniting together they have not forfeited their nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the States choose to withdraw from the compact, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so, and the Federal Government would have no means of maintaining its claims directly either by force or right.

    It was Lincoln who dissolved the original voluntary agreement of the States and turned the meaning of “The United States” from a plural to a singular entity.

  80. Mark,

    The Constitution doesn’t say anything in either way on secession, so you can’t argue that it did not prohibit secession. Perhaps the Founding Fathers should have put something in, because well, clearly the issue divided many, even to this day.

    I do find it interesting that in a search attempt in the Federalist Papers, I get nothing on secessions.

    And no it wasn’t Lincoln who dissolved the original voluntary agreement. Previously Andrew Jackson had done the same thing, compelling South Carolina to stay in the Union. His argument was an excellent one, which I’ve quoted several times. Just because you don’t like a law does not give you the right to no longer wish to be judged by that law. That’s now how nation-states work. It would spell the utter doom to the idea of a nation-state if that kind of practice were allowed to gain legitimacy.

    The South never grasped the bigger picture. Further, it was prophesied that they would be the cause of much violence and death, starting with their breaking away from the Union.

  81. If Lincoln had just decided to let the South form its own nation and then set up trading treaties with them, you think that would have given a worse result than what resulted from the War Between the States?

    I guess this is just one of those things we’re going to disagree on.

  82. Just because you don’t like a law does not give you the right to no longer wish to be judged by that law.

    I think seat belt “click it or ticket” laws are ridiculous and infringe upon our basic liberties. But I’m not about to try and start my own country as a result. The South, on the other hand, apparently felt oppressed enough that seemingly the only remaining remedy to the situation was secession. I don’t think it was something they did lightly.

  83. The Constitution doesn’t say anything in either way on secession

    Sure it does. That’s the whole point of the tenth amendment to the Constitution. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    If it isn’t mentioned one way or the other in the Constitution, then it’s a right reserved to the states. Covers all the bases.

  84. “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.”

    You mean like overthrowing a tyrannical regime in the middle east?

  85. Mark,

    If Lincoln had just decided to let the South form its own nation and then set up trading treaties with them, you think that would have given a worse result than what resulted from the War Between the States?

    That of course is an excellent question. No one knows what the end result might have been. Similarly, who knows what would have happened if the South just let go of slavery and transformed their economy to better compete with the North’s industrial economy. They certainly would not have felt threatened by westward expansion of slave-free states. No secession, and no civil war.

    I don’t think it was something they did lightly.

    I don’t know if I agree with that characterization, at least not for South Carolina’s case, as South Carolina had attempted at least once before to flaunt federal law. For me, secession is a pretty immature response to disliking certain laws passed. Talk about confrontational and provocative! Just how does that response get results?

    Mark, can you show me some analysis from a Constitutional expert on just how the tenth amendment justifies (or not) secession. Actually I’ve done a little digging and found these three items. You ready for them? ;)

    First:

    The case against secession:

    That the American Republic was both federal and national was the dominant view among statesmen of the antebellum period. For instance, in his reply to Calhoun on Feb. 16, 1833, Daniel Webster observed that the state conventions, including that of South Carolina, did not accede to a league or association when they approved the Constitution, but ratified and confirmed that Constitution as a form of government.

    Andrew Jackson made the same point in his “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina” during the nullification crisis. The Constitution, said Jackson, derives its whole authority from the people, not the States. The States “retained all the power they did not grant. But each State, having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute, jointly with the other States, a single nation, can not, from that period, possess any right to secede, because such secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a nation….” And Madison, who presumably knew something about the constitutional theory of the American Founding, was horrified by the idea that the coordinate sovereignty retained by the States, as stated in the Tenth Amendment, implied the power of nullification, interposition, or secession.

    Lincoln argued that the Union created the States, not the other way around and that the States had no other legal status than that which held in the Union. Harry V. Jaffa has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the Revolutionary generation universally understood the separation of 13 colonies from Great Britain and the union among them to have been accomplished simultaneously. Colonial resolutions called for both independence and union. According to Jefferson and Madison in 1825, the Declaration of Independence constituted an “act of Union of the States.”

    The Articles of Confederation (a document that begins and ends with the assertion that the Union is perpetual) was an unsuccessful attempt to govern the Union created by the Declaration of Independence. It failed because the central government lacked the necessary power to carry out its obligations. The Constitution was intended to rectify the problems of the Articles — to create “a more perfect Union.” As George Washington wrote in his letter transmitting the Constitution to Congress, “In all our deliberations…we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, perhaps our national existence.”

    Secession and the constitution

    Wherein I discover something I should have quoted much earlier in my piece, but which I did not know about, and that is:

    Texas v White, a Supreme Court ruling, usually the final arbiter on what is the interpretation of the Constitution for the United States of America. I would note (as the commentator on the previous link noted: “I’m really surprised you haven’t gotten to Texas v. White yet, though. The question of secession has actually come before SCOTUS. While many may (and do!) disagree vehemently with that decision, it does, nonetheless, stand. Barring a new ruling from the court, there is no Constitutional right of secession.”

    In any case, here is the relevant text from Texas V White Supreme Court decision:

    It is needless to discuss, at length, the question whether the right of a State to withdraw from the Union for any cause, regarded by herself as sufficient, is consistent with the Constitution of the United States.

    The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and [74 U.S. 700, 725] arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form, and character, and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?

    But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union, by no means implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-government by the States. Under the Articles of Confederation each State retained its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right not expressly delegated to the United States. Under the Constitution, though the powers of the States were much restricted, still, all powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. And we have already had occasion to remark at this term, that cthe people of each State compose a State, having its own government, and endowed with all the functions essential to separate and independent existence,’ and that ‘without the States in union, there could be no such political body as the United States.’ 12 Not only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the States, through their union under the Constitution, but it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. [74 U.S. 700, 726] When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.

    Considered therefore as transactions under the Constitution, the ordinance of secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the acts of her legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. The obligations of the State, as a member of the Union, and of every citizen of the State, as a citizen of the United States, remained perfect and unimpaired. It certainly follows that the State did not cease to be a State, nor her citizens to be citizens of the Union. If this were otherwise, the State must have become foreign, and her citizens foreigners. The war must have ceased to be a war for the suppression of rebellion, and must have become a war for conquest and subjugation.

    Our conclusion therefore is, that Texas continued to be a State, and a State of the Union, notwithstanding the transactions to which we have referred. And this conclusion, in our judgment, is not in conflict with any act or declaration of any department of the National government, but entirely in accordance with the whole series of such acts and declarations since the first outbreak of the rebellion.

    hear hear

  86. [...] America. trackback Back in March, I wrote a post about the American Civil War. I titled it The American Civil War, Fought Over Slavery, Begun by South Carolina. This has garnered many views and plenty of comments. One point that seems to be made quite [...]

  87. Daniel,

    Just to make sure we understand each other, you think that the only way the North could have been aggressive, is if the South was a nation state, and the only way for the South to become a nation state was by the North losing the war… So the only aggressive action the North could have taken was to lose the war :) You have set up a nice paradox.

  88. exactly. The South was a rebellion. Their actions were aggressive. The North merely responded as any nation would to keep its Union strong, and that is to put the rebellion in its place.

  89. Take a look at my new post on There is no right of secession guaranteed by the Constitution

  90. Daniel,
    You said that it was unconstitutional for the South to succeed from the union.
    You a flat out wrong. You need to read the “Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions” ( Written by President Jefferson, October, 1798). The Drafts explain how the states hove the power to review federal laws and actions and deem them unconstitutional if need be. This role of the states has diminished since 1803 when the Supreme court finally discovered that they too had the power of “review”.
    To take this argument a step further, I say to you that since these states left the union constitutionally and had their own government, that the South was a Nation state.

  91. I also pose a question to you. What if the roles would have been reversed? What if the North would have succeeded from the union because the South was pro-slavery? Would it still be okay for the North to invade the South after fort Sumter?

  92. hospitaller,

    The North would not have seceded, you see. They’ve been far smarter than the South. They used the Constitutional tools at their disposal to ensure future states would be slave-free, and as such, there was no need to secede from a system that worked. The South never understood that they had the power under the Constitution to keep slavery for as long as they wanted.

  93. Daniel

    I am curious, if the South had not fired the first shots, would you still maintain that the North was not the aggresive party? (Assuming the rest of the war remained the same)

    You still have not answered…

    The reason I ask, is because in your original post you wrote, “However, let’s not revise history and portray the North as aggressors, when clearly the South began the conflict” The way I read it, that sentence implies that the South was the aggressive party becuase they fired first.

    It would seem to me that your position has changed in this debate. At the beggining you were arguing that the North was not aggresive becuase they were attacked first. Now though, it seems you argue that the North was not aggressive becuase the South seceded. Maybe you can clarify this for me.

  94. Templar,

    The South was the aggressor when the seceded. The North merely responded in defense of the Constitution and the Union. :)

  95. I will concede to you that the South withdrew unconstitutionally, I found the relevant info in the “State’s rights” section of the Constitution…

    Anyway, it all comes back to me trying to make the point that the North fought an AGRESSIVE war in order to preserve the union. An agressive war that was justified. Do you agree?

  96. No, because the aggression was the South’s secession, not the North’s attempts to hold the Union together. The aggressive act was the South leaving the Union.

  97. So what aggressive act between Japan and the United States led to World War II?

    Was it the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan in December of 1941, or was it the oil embargo imposed upon Japan by the United States in July of 1941?

    If 80% of your oil comes from a country that suddenly decides to cut you off, haven’t they just declared economic war on you?

  98. I will concede to you that the South withdrew unconstitutionally,

    I don’t. If Congress passes a law requiring all citizens to burn all books by Mark Twain, does that suddenly mean you have no right to read the works of Mark Twain?

    Or does it mean that Congress has overstepped its bounds?

    Even if secession were unconstitutional (and it wasn’t, because the individual states made it clear that they still retained all sovereign rights they held by them as separate states even after they joined the Union), it would be a form of slavery.

    There was more than one form of slavery being fought over in the War Between the States.

  99. Those are some good points Mark.

  100. Daniel,

    “The South was the aggressor when they seceded.”

    It seems that you need to listen to your own words, “However, let’s not revise history and portray the North as aggressors, when clearly the South began the conflict” Are you accusing yourself of revising history? Becuase in your post the South was the aggressors becuase they fired first. Now it is becuase they seceded. Just some advice, in a debate it is good to stick to one position, or you might turn into John Kerry and have more flip flops than a house of pancackes :)

  101. Mark,

    Was it the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan in December of 1941, or was it the oil embargo imposed upon Japan by the United States in July of 1941?

    I do believe we had it coming, actually. I’ve always felt our oil embargo was very provocative. Perhaps Roosevelt didn’t think the Japanese would dare attack (after all the vast Pacific tends to keep the Japanese and Chinese at bay, as well as the Americans from quarreling too much westward—or at least it used to). Perhaps he did and this was his way of getting Americans to accept a war. If that is the case, then his actions are treasonous.

    But most certainly, Japan did not attack unprovoked.

  102. Mark,

    I don’t. If Congress passes a law requiring all citizens to burn all books by Mark Twain, does that suddenly mean you have no right to read the works of Mark Twain?

    No legal right. However, you can appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, which is the final arbiter on the interpretation of the Constitution. And if that fails you, you can go to 3/4ths of the states and get them to adopt a new amendment to the Constitution allowing everyone to read mark Twain. It would, after that, be unconstitutional to ban any American (or anyone at all really) from reading Mark Twain. Like I said before the Constitution of the United States gives everyone many ways through which they can change things they don’t like. There is no reason for secession.

  103. Well, we disagree, but you knew that already. :-)

  104. Right. :)

    And you didn’t need to secede. ;)

  105. You? I didn’t realize Mark was alive during the Civil War. Impressive.

  106. Daniel,

    Since, from your point of view, the secession was unconstitutional, why did the North have to be attacked first for them to be justified in preserving the Union? Was not the Union attacked by the secession itself?

  107. They didn’t have to be attacked. The secession, being illegal, could not go unpunished.

  108. Thanks

  109. :)

  110. Daniel,

    I realize you have a lot of posts to keep busy with, so if you don’t have time to answer the following, no problem.

    The following question has absolutely nothing to do with the Civil War, I just admire your ability to clearly argue your point of view, and knowing that we so often disagree on issues, I am asking for your point of view on another topic to see if it is likely that people will disagree with me on this issue or not.

    I am a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and to become a member, the applicant must “unconditionally subscribe” to the teachings of the Synod. My question is, can one “unconditionally subscribe” to the teachings, if one at the same time has questions and concerns about those very teachings? Why or why not?

    (For some background in case you are wondering why in the heck I would ask this, last year the President of the ELS suspended a pastor from the synod. I believe that the President was not justified, because he held a double standard on Pastor Preus. The double standard, was that the President removed the pastor for not “unconditionally subscribing” to the teachings, while ate the same time claiming that the pastor could have held questions and concerns about the teachings.)

  111. One cannot unconditionally subscribe to the teachings of something if one has doubts, because those doubts end up being conditions on the subscription of those teachings. One can, however “conditionally subscribe” to teachings one has doubts about. But if you are not fully converted, then you’re going to be having problems down the road when challenges to your beliefs arise.

  112. This is amazing, we actually agree on something :) Thanks for responding.

  113. I’m sure we both agree that the sky is blue. :D

  114. Unless its cloudy ;)

  115. Thank you!!!!!!

  116. Just a small point about “first shot”.

    If SC was indeed its own nation as it declared, using the right to withdraw from the “union” as stated, and the “union” had a military force inside its (SC’s) borders, then would it not be logical to rid oneself of such infestation?

    Reading the various states’ declarations, one comes to the conclusion that although slavery was a vehicle to be driven for the purpose, it was mostly about the right of a state to do as it pleased (‘states’ rights’). The language of ‘slave states’ and ‘non-slave states’ were more of an identification with a belief about independence and a convenience of terming locality.

  117. Brian,

    Only if South Carolina actually had a “right” to withdraw from the union. But alas, they did not.

  118. Daniel,

    The second Missouri Compromise’s proposition that persons of African descent could not be U.S. citizens, was ratified in 1857… Does this mean that African Americans didn’t have the “right” to be citizens? If so, then the North was in violation of this amendment.

    Things were not quite so black and white then (pardon the pun), the south actually had some grounds for seceding that today don’t seem legitimate, but at that time were not proven entirely inaccurate. You have to keep in mind that the United States was still a very young nation, and it was still working out the bugs…

  119. Hospitaller,

    Huh, wasn’t slavery in the Constitution though? Didn’t the South quite easily agree that persons of African descent were no better than, in the words of the Mississippi declaration of session:

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

    Sorry, hospitaller, but the South’s position vis a vis “persons of African descent” were abhorrent and will always be so.

  120. Why did South Carolina not have a right to secede? There is nothing in the Constitution that covered (or covers) secession. About 2/3 of the states at this point have secessionist movements (some of them for the wrong reasons, but Vermont’s and Hawaii’s arguments are fairly cogent). The Civil War settled the question from an executive standpoint (“If you want to leave, we will force you to stay.”) but the question has not been dealt with in a legislative or judicial manner at the federal level.

    Did the U.S. have the right to declare independence from England? Tories would argue know, but Vermont argues, similar to Thomas Jefferson:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, 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.

    If our current government today, is not fulfilling its role granted by the people the people have the right to rescind the power granted to the government and head in a different direction.

  121. Sorry, Tories would argue “no”, not “know”.

  122. Mike,

    I believe we argued this before. I don’t want to get into it again. It’s up above in the hundred plus comments. :)

  123. This website must have where the civil war started. It is very important information.

  124. I hate to burst David’s bubble along with the rest of the revisionist writers but The War was not what they, the victors, have professed for their own ideological reasons. I used to believe their propaganda too until I started reading actual documents written during the period before, during and after The War. Believe what you want but the truth will free us all. One question: Why didn’t the “underground railroad” end in the North or New England instead of in Canada if the North was so opposed to slavery. I don’t condone slavery in any of its form the or now, but I do abhor lies and untruths. Read on…

    Why The War Was Started…
    If the Declaration of Independence justifies the secession from the British Empire of 3 million American 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?”

    How 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 “War Between the States” 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 truth.

    *** John S. Tilley’s “Lincoln Takes Command” and Ludwell Johnson’s “North Against South” are two such books.

    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. 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 time.

    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 re-supply Major Anderson’s Union force holed up in Fort Sumter.

    So Gov Pickens opened negotiations with Major 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). Major 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 re-supply it.

    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.

    Confederate 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 Major Anderson’s men from Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor–which was now located on foreign soil. To re-supply 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 re-supplying 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 Major 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 Major 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 Major 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 re-supply Fort Sumter peaceably or by force. There was no mistaking the intent of that message.

    Lincoln had set the perfect trap. He had given Confederate 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 no choice.

    Accordingly, the C.S.A., informed that the U.S. Navy was en route, demanded that Major 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 to understand.

    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.”

    The Lincoln Myth
    -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 . . .”

    Congress 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.

    The North 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.

    Myth #2: Lincoln’s 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 with negroes.”

    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 Lincoln 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.”

    Lincoln 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 legal.”

    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 criminals.

    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 and Danish 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 with emancipation.

    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.

    Economic Interests & the War for Southern Independence
    -by Richard B. Abell, PLPOW Member
    Economic interests had a great deal (and everything) 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. The concept 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 that separated the South from the North. These were very real and very deep. In 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 but well worth the read in order to understand these United States.

    There were essentially four groupings of British that immigrated 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 they continued their own evolution separate from England and all others. The Puritans went to New England from East Anglia and environs; the Quakers 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, West 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 dictate.

    Godspeed. Deo Vindice!
    …..Richard B. Abell, PLPOW member

    Genesis of the Civil War
    - by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Thursday, May 11, 2000
    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 Civil War 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 (liberal) leadership. The debate rarely goes beyond these simplistic slogans.

    And yet this take on the Civil War 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 from Britain.

    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 explicitly 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 nonsense?

    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.

    Capt. 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 side of the future, trusting that the vile invader of our sacred rights will soon meet with just retribution for his tyrannical oppression, 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.

    Why 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 battle flag. 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, 1281.

    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 non-offensive 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.

    *Republican Party Platform of 1860
    REPUBLICAN NATIONAL PLATFORM
    ADOPTED AT CHICAGO, 1860
    Resolved, That we, the delegated representatives of the Republican electors of the United States, in Convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations:
    1. That the history of the nation, during the last four years, has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican Party, and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.
    2. That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the States, and the Union of the States, must and shall be preserved.
    3. That to the Union of the States this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for Disunion, come from whatever source they may: And we congratulate the country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or countenanced the threats of Disunion so often made by Democratic members without rebuke and with applause from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of Disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendency, as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant People sternly to rebuke and forever silence.
    4. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.
    5. That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions, in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas; in construing the personal relation between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted enforcement, everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of Congress and of the Federal Courts of the extreme pretensions of a purely local interest; and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power intrusted to it by a confiding people.
    6. That the people justly view with alarm the reckless extravagance which pervades every department of the Federal Government; that a return to rigid economy and accountability is indispensible to arrest the systematic plunder of the public treasury by favored partisans, while the recent startling developments of frauds and corruptions at the Federal metropolis, show that an entire change of administration is imperatively demanded.
    7. That the new dogma, that the Constitution, of its own force, carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.
    8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; That as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.
    9. That we brand the recent re-opening of the African slave-trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.
    10. That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting Slavery in those Territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non- Intervention and Popular Sovereignty, embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.
    11. That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a State under the Constitution recently formed and adopted by her people, and accepted by the House of Representatives.
    12. That, while providing revenue for the support of the General Government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imposts as to encourage the development of the industrial interest of the whole country; and we commend that policy of national exchanges which secures to the working men liberal wages, to agriculture renumerative prices, to mechanics and manufactures an adequate reward for their skill, labor, and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.
    13. That we protest against any sale or alienation to others of the Public Lands held by actual settlers, and against any view of he Homestead policy which regards the settlers as paupers or suppliants for public bounty; and we demand the passage by Congress of the complete and satisfactory Homestead measure which has already passed the House.
    14. That the Republican party is opposed to any change in our Naturalization Laws or any State legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.
    15. That appropriations by Congress for River and Harbor improvements of a National character, required for the accommodation and security of an existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligations of Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
    16. That a Railroad to the Pacific Ocean is imperatively demanded by the interest of the whole country; that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as preliminary thereto, a daily Overland Mail should be promply established.
    17. Finally, having thus set forth our distinctive principles and views, we invite the coöperation of all citizens, however differing on other questions, who substantially agree with us in their affirmance and support.

    Transcribed and reverse-order proofread by T. Lloyd Benson from the Tribune Almanac, 1861, pp. 30-31; (facsimile edition: The Tribune Almanac for the Years 1838 to 1868, inclusive, comprehending the Politician’s Register and the Whig Almanac, [New York: Published by the New York Tribune, 1868].)

    * Lincoln’s first inaugural-address
    First Inaugural Address
    March 4, 1861
    Washington, D.C.
    This speech had its origins in the back room of a store in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield for nearly 25 years, wrote the speech shortly before becoming America’s sixteenth President. As President-elect, he took refuge from hordes of office seekers at his brother-in-law’s store in January 1861. There he used just four references in his writing: Henry Clay’s 1850 Speech on compromise, Webster’s reply to Hayne, Andrew Jackson’s proclamation against nullification, and the U.S. Constitution.

    A local newspaper, the Illinois State Journal, secretly printed the first draft, which he took on his inaugural journey to Washington. He entrusted the speech to his son Robert, who temporarily lost the suitcase, causing a minor uproar until it was found. Once in Washington, Lincoln allowed a handful of people to read the speech before delivering it. William H. Seward, his Secretary of State, offered several suggestions which softened its tone and helped produce its famous closing. Although meant to allay the fears of Southerners, the speech did not dissuade them from starting the war, which broke out the following month.

    Californians read the speech after it traveled via telegraph and Pony Express. It was telegraphed from New York to Kearney, Nebraska, then taken by Pony Express to Folsom, California, where it was telegraphed to Sacramento for publication. Today you can see the First Inaugural Address manuscript and the Bible from the inaugural ceremony online or at the American Treasures exhibit, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

    Fellow-citizens of the United States:
    In compliance with a custom as old as the government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take, in your presence, the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, to be taken by the President “before he enters on the execution of this office.”
    I do not consider it necessary at present for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement.
    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. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to their inspection. 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. And more than this, they placed in the platform, for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves, and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:
    Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”
    I now reiterate these sentiments; and in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause — as cheerfully to one section as to another.
    There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
    “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”
    It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it, for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the law-giver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution — to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause, “shall be delivered,” their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame and pass a law, by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?
    There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by national or by state authority; but surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him, or to others, by which authority it is done. And should any one, in any case, be content that his oath shall go unkept, on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?
    Again, in any law upon this subject, ought not all the safeguards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that a free man be not, in any case, surrendered as a slave? And might it not be well, at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that “the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States”?
    I take the official oath to-day, with no mental reservations, and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws, by any hypercritical rules. And while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to, and abide by, all those acts which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.
    It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our national Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens, have, in succession, administered the executive branch of the government. They have conducted it through many perils; and, generally, with great success. Yet, with all this scope for [of] precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years, under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted.
    I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper, ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the Union will endure forever — it being impossible to destroy it, except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.
    Again, if the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade, by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it — break it, so to speak; but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it?
    Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that, in legal contemplation, the Union is perpetual, confirmed by the history of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles

  125. holy cow dude! How much of that is your own writing?

  126. Al Barrs you did a great job! Daniel just does not have the capacity to understand that Lincoln could have started a war without firing the first shot. It is beyond his understanding apparently. To be fair though, it is more of a testament to Lincoln’s genius that people still believe he was justified in invading the south. He wasn’t joking about that fooling thing.

  127. Joe King,

    It is more a testament that some people just can’t accept that they lost and move on.

  128. “It is more a testament that some people just can’t accept that they lost and move on.”

    That sounds like a Republican defense of the selection of Dubya, and the resultant war in Iraq.

    A week ago Sunday, our ward sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the closing hymn. I inwardly cringed as we sang the line from the third verse: “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just…”.

    If only the US had had a just cause to set us along in our conquering ways in recent history…

  129. “If only the US had had a just cause to set us along in our conquering ways in recent history…”

    I’m sure 3000 American’s dead in a single day was no cause to invade the country supporting the organization who launched the attack…

  130. Hospitaller,

    Are you referring to Afghanistan or Iraq?

  131. … or Saudi Arabia?

  132. I said in a single “day” not a single “5 years”…

  133. This post has had a 62% increase in viewership this past week. I guess school is fully in session… :)

  134. One question: Why didn’t the “underground railroad” end in the North or New England instead of in Canada if the North was so opposed to slavery.

    Because of the Fugitive Slave Law which was part of the compromise that had been made between free states and slave states when the country was formed, and remade in 1850.

    Free men always have the right to rebel against tyranny. However, there is no right to secede from a free country in order to maintain a tyranny. Even if the North had fired the first shot, they would have been right and the South would have been wrong.

  135. Daniel,

    Did South Carolina start the war when they invaded Massachussettes? Or was it New York? Oh no, that’s right….they started the war when they fired upon the hostile Union army that refused to evacuate from the fort in Charleston harbor, right in their own state.

    South Carolina seceded and ordered the Union army to evacuate from Sumter. Not only did the Union not evacuate but Lincoln decided to stoke the fire and send extra supplies and munitions, taking a decidedly belligerent stance, against the opinions of his advisors. South Carolina may have fired the first shot, but only in a twisted sense could anyone argue that they started the war.

  136. Jack,

    They started the war the moment they signed a declaration of secession. Then they compounded it by firing the first shot.

  137. The negotiations regarding the forts were ongoing. There was still a chance that secession would not stand, that time and diplomacy would allow cooler heads to prevail. Until those issues were settled, Lincoln could do nothing other than supply the forts, since not doing so would have made it a moot point. It was only a belligerent move in the eyes of belligerent men who were determined to block any effort at compromise or negotiation.

  138. Daniel,

    On your blog you identify yourself as someone who is strongly against the Iraq war and tell us that you believe peace is possible on this planet, yet here you are telling us that the only justification that you need to invade a neighboring state of fellow citizens with tanks and guns is if they are so brazen as to decide to peacefully withdraw from this Union??? Since no amendments have been made to the Constitution regarding secession, you must still consider it to be unconstitutional today. Does that mean you’d be willing to go to war and invade the State of Wisconsin, for example, if they decided that this country was heading in a direction that was in serious conflict with their values and that they wanted to withdraw and be left alone?

  139. Jack, Jack, Jack,

    who is strongly against the Iraq war

    Because it was a stupid, detrimental war, and would ruin our real war against our real enemy – Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

    you believe peace is possible on this planet

    Indeed it is.

    the only justification that you need to invade a neighboring state of fellow citizens with tanks and guns is if they are so brazen as to decide to peacefully withdraw from this Union?

    If that action were to destroy the Union, then by golly send in the tanks! We can only be extra thankful that the North won and taught the South a lesson about what it means to be America.

    peacefully withdraw from this Union?

    If their actions would have succeeded, they would have destroyed the rule of law. As Andrew Jackson pointed out, if a state or an individual were granted the right to decide for themselves which laws they wish to follow and which ones they don’t, the rule of law would be destroyed.

    Does that mean you’d be willing to go to war and invade the State of Wisconsin, for example, if they decided that this country was heading in a direction that was in serious conflict with their values and that they wanted to withdraw and be left alone?

    Yep.

    Though I do sometimes wish to kick out Texas and Florida from the Union. ;)

  140. Secession is an inalienable right just like all the others that the govt is put in place to protect ( no more – no less) The Declaration of Independence was a declaration of secession. Inalienable rights are rights we are born with .. Those are rights that are not given to us and cannot be taken away. So don’t give us this crap that we’re not free. It’s not like we the people put together a govt ( as the founders did ) and then THEY are in charge of us. No no no no… WE’RE Still in charge! They still answer to us. They have to protect our rights. So don’t be bashin liberatarians. Don’t be bashin liberty. I mean whats better? Being a slave as you say we all are.. Thats just absurd. I know I am not a slave to nobody lol!

    The “War between the states” by the way was NOT started by the south. The North occupied Fort Sumter which was South Carolinas territory and basically didn’t get the hell out when they were asked to. So the south WAS provoked. South Carolina had a right to defend itself lol! Thomas DiLorenzo is right about what he says .. Makes total sense and is accurate. What that moron Jaffa says and what we were taught in sch0ol was bogus BS.

  141. And no friggin way was the Civil War over “slavery” lol .. Again thats one of the biggest myths.. What we were taught in school is false and is meant to brainwash us lol. It was over Secession. Lincoln figured “might makes right”. Also there was the issue of tariffs which Lincoln had a hard on for which really pissed off the South. Slavery was ended peacefully in like at least 7 other countries without no bloodshed and easily could have ended on its own because it wasn’t good economically. In fact when slavery did actually end it was because of that .. it wasn’t good economically. Just read Thomas DiLorenzo he tells the whole story in “the Real Lincoln” ..( He owned Jaffa in debate and rightfully so ) Jaffa talks out of his ass lol

  142. woohoo, a Ron Paul supporter! I feel special. Alright, let’s get into it. I haven’t had to deal with the Civil War and slavery in some time.

    Secession is an inalienable right just like all the others that the govt is put in place to prote

    No it isn’t.

    The Declaration of Independence was a declaration of secession.

    No it isn’t.

    If the Declaration of Independence was a declaration of secession, they would have called it the Declaration of Secession rather than the Declaration of Independence.

    The “War between the states” by the way was NOT started by the south. The North occupied Fort Sumter which was South Carolinas territory and basically didn’t get the hell out when they were asked to. So the south WAS provoked

    Ah, so the South DID start the war. They shot the first shot. They killed the first person of the war. Why are you so defensive about who started the war? If your side is right, that doesn’t make much of a difference, right?

    And no friggin way was the Civil War over “slavery” lol

    LOL yes it was.

    What we were taught in school is false and is meant to brainwash us lol.

    LOL and you didn’t even get an education!

    Slavery was ended peacefully in like at least 7 other countries without no bloodshed and easily could have ended on its own because it wasn’t good economically.

    Well said. Except that the South refused to “end it peacefully.” They refused to let go of slavery, because those whites really loved having blacks work for them. Those whites really loved being in that position of power over other human beings. It was insatiable. The power to order another human being around like a slave. Hard to give that up for the Southern White Man.

    In fact when slavery did actually end it was because of that .. it wasn’t good economically

    LOL yeah, like totally, the South’s stance on slavery wasn’t good for them economically, seeing that the entire South was destroyed over the use of slavery! LOLOLOLOLOL.

    ….

    Just want to say, does Ron Paul really like how stupid some of his “supporters” portray themselves? Does he realize what he is breeding? Ron Paul tends to be fairly cogent and rational. But his supporters are rabid and fairly dumb. What’s with the disconnect?

  143. Secession is an inalienable right, “That to secure these rights, 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,” Ha ha ha, as long as you show how the government is destroying your life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, secession is your inalienable RIGHT! :)

    Really Daniel, did the South kill the first person of the war? Really? Come on bro, what are you a Ron Paul supporter lol. Guess what??? the North killed the first person, and it was their own soldier :0 no way!

    And do you know Jefferson Davis? He was kinda the leader of the South you know… Yeah he said he was desirous of peace at any sacrifice save that of honor and independence, and that he would meet, not wage war, and that all the South asks is to be let alone. To this Lincoln gave the command to raise a 75,o000 man militia to serve against “combinations too powerful to be surpressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings.” So you are incorrect, the South did not start the war, Lincoln did.

    Why is it so important who started the war? Gee I don’t know maybe because thousands of people died, hopefully that at least gets you thinking… And that is why the South was right, because Jefferson was all about peace, the North wasn’t.

    Hahaha, how can you know the South wouldn’t end slavery peacefully? Can you predict the future now or something??? You’re right though, those whites really did love being in a position of power over other human beings. In fact it was for nothing less than the insatiable desire for the power to order another person around like a slave that the North invaded the South. It was all about fricking control, which is exactly why the South had such a just cause for peacefully declaring their independence. Their liberty was being destroyed. The South was completely content to regain their liberty peacefully. Sure the North beat the South back into submission just like a slave, how are you proud of this? If its wrong to physicially abuse humans how is it right to kill them????? How you find humour in this is beyond me.

  144. Really, Joe? You wanna still hash this out? Are you really that bored? Your attempt at humor falls quite flat, let me tell you. Go on vacation dude. Take a break. Chill out.

  145. Abraham Lincoln Quote

    “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.”

    by:

    Abraham Lincoln
    (1809-1865) 16th US President
    Source: Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858
    (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, pp. 145-146.)

  146. GIVE ‘EM HELL DANIEL!!!


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