The Only Thing That Could Save the North Was War

The Only Thing That Could Save the North Was War

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

Major Robert Anderson, Union commander inside Fort Sumter, emphatically blames Lincoln for starting the war Lincoln had to have to save the North.

(This post is Chapter Seven of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available on this website)

Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. by Gene Kizer, Jr. - front cover - slavery not the cause of the Civil War

Lincoln needed to start the war as fast as he could before Southerners completed trade and military alliances with England and other European countries, which they had been pursuing with great enthusiasm for months. With every second that went by, the South got stronger and the North got weaker. Lincoln knew there was no advantage, whatsoever, to waiting.

He also worried greatly about free states joining the South. The Confederate Constitution allowed it. Slavery was not required. Slavery was up to an individual state, and Southerners anticipated that many free states with economic ties to the South, especially along the Mississippi and in the West, would join the Confederacy.

The Boston Transcript saw what was happening and realized that the protection to slavery that the North was quite willing to give was not what the South wanted:

[T]he mask has been thrown off and it is apparent that the people of the principal seceding states are now for commercial independence. They dream that the centres of traffic can be changed from Northern to Southern ports. The merchants of New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah are possessed of the idea that New York, Boston, and Philadelphia may be shorn, in the future, of their mercantile greatness, by a revenue system verging on free trade.i

The South wanted to be INDEPENDENT just as the Colonists had wanted to be independent in 1776. The South wanted freedom and self-government. It was tired of the confiscation of its hard-earned money by the North and the federal government. It was tired of 10 years of Northern hatred and terrorism.

Northern panic and Southern jubilation grew steadily until they reached a crescendo on April 12, 1861, and the orchestra wore gray in the forts and batteries encircling Charleston Harbor, and it wore blue inside Fort Sumter, led by Union Major Robert Anderson.

Anderson saw the events of the day clearly and put the blame squarely on Abraham Lincoln for starting the war that Lincoln had to have to save the Union and the North. Lincoln and Secretary of War Simon Cameron wrote to Anderson and informed him that warships and a military mission to reinforce him were en route.

Anderson and the Southerners in Charleston were standing face to face, each with a cocked gun on a hair-trigger aimed at the other's head. It had been this way for weeks, but Lincoln couldn't wait any longer. He was anxious to get a blockade set up around the ports of the South that would slow the European rush to military and trade treaties with the South. This was a critical thing for Lincoln or suddenly it would have been like the French in the American Revolution who came to the aid of the Colonists and helped mightily to secure American independence.

Once Lincoln got the war started, he could throw up his blockade and force Europeans to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Lincoln knew that sending his warships and soldiers to Charleston during the most critical hour in American history would start the war. That's why it was well publicized nationally, so everybody could get ready. He hoped the Confederates would fire first. Everything he did was designed to get that result. See Charles W. Ramsdell's famous treatise, "Lincoln and Fort Sumter,"ii Part III of this book, for proof that Lincoln started the war.

Anderson was at ground zero on April 12, 1861 and could judge both sides and pass judgment on who started the war, and he clearly blames Lincoln. This is what he writes in his response to Lincoln and Cameron:

. . . a movement made now when the South has been erroneously informed that none such will be attempted, would produce most disastrous results throughout our country. . . . We shall strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced. . . . (Bold emphasis added.)

Anderson sees that the war "is to be thus commenced" by Abraham Lincoln, who had to hurry up and get it started or soon the South with European trade and military alliances would be unbeatable.

Northern greed, hatred and terrorism drove the South out of the Union and cost the North its huge captive manufacturing market in the South. It also cost the North unfettered access to bountiful Southern commodities needed in manufacturing.

More Northern greed in the form of the Morrill Tariff threatened to destroy the Northern shipping industry and send Northern ship captains South where protective tariffs were unconstitutional. The Morrill Tariff guaranteed that the Northern economy would not recover.

Northern leaders knew that they were headed for an unimaginable disaster and at the same time would have to face the South as a major competitor owning most of the trade of the United States, strongly backed militarily and financially by Europe, and with control of the most demanded commodity on the planet: cotton.

Abraham Lincoln, the first sectional president in American history, was president of the North and the North was clamoring for war. There was gloom, despair and extreme agitation in the North. Hundreds of thousands were unemployed, angry, in the street. The "clangor of arms" had been heard. Every day that went by the South got stronger and the North got weaker. There was no advantage whatsoever to waiting a second longer, so, after agonizing for weeks, Lincoln saw a way to get the war started without appearing to be the aggressor, and he took it. This was the view of several Northern newspapers as Charles W. Ramsdell points out in Part III in "Lincoln and Fort Sumter."

The threatened annihilation of the Northern economy and the rise of the South are what drove all actions in that fateful spring of 1861. Certainly not any mythical desire on the part of the North to end slavery.

The North's choices had been clear: descend into economic hell and mob rule, or fight.

If they fought, because of their overwhelming advantages at that point in history (4 to 1 in native manpower plus unlimited immigration - 25% of the Yankee army ended up being immigrants while close to 100% of the Confederate army were native-born Southerners - perhaps 200 to 1 in weapon manufacturing, an army, navy, etc.), they knew they had an excellent chance of winning everything and gaining total control of the country.

If they didn't fight, the South would surely ascend to predominance.

Of course they were going to fight and use their advantages before they lost them.

Lincoln figured the North would win easily but First Manassas proved him wrong, thus we had the bloodiest war in American history with 800,000 deaths and over a million wounded. The South was invaded and destroyed but fought until it was utterly exhausted before it was all over. It had nothing left to give or the war would certainly have continued on.

It was World War II, seventy-five years later, before the South began to recover from the destruction, but it is a certainty that if 1861 rolled around again and Southerners had the opportunity to fight for independence, they would. To the South, 1861 was 1776 all over. They believed the Founding Fathers had bequeathed to them by the Declaration of Independence, the right of self-government, and they would pay any price to achieve it.

Basil Gildersleeve, still known today as the greatest American classical scholar of all time, was a Confederate soldier from Charleston, South Carolina. He sums it up nicely in The Creed of the Old South, published 27 years after the war:

All that I vouch for is the feeling; . . . there was no lurking suspicion of any moral weakness in our cause. Nothing could be holier than the cause, nothing more imperative than the duty of upholding it. There were those in the South who, when they saw the issue of the war, gave up their faith in God, but not their faith in the cause.iii


i The Boston Transcript, 18 March 1861, in Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, 65.

ii Charles W. Ramsdell, "Lincoln and Fort Sumter", The Journal of Southern History, Volume 3, Issue 3 (August, 1937), Pages 259 - 288.

iii Basil L. Gildersleeve, The Creed of the Old South, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1915; reprint: BiblioLife, Penrose Library, University of Denver (no date given), 26-27.

The Morrill Tariff Caused the Perfect Storm for Economic Disaster in the North

The Morrill Tariff Caused the Perfect Storm
for Economic Disaster in the North

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

Secession cost the North its Southern manufacturing market. The Morrill Tariff threatened to cost the North its shipping industry as U.S. trade was immediately rerouted away from the high-tariff North and into Southern ports where protective tariffs were unconstitutional.

(This post is Chapter Six of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available on this website)

Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. by Gene Kizer, Jr. - front cover - slavery not the cause of the Civil War

Contrast the North and South.

Virginia Governor John Letcher was thrilled about the future of Virginia out of the Union. He had told the House of Delegates three months earlier that "We have the best port in the country; . . . if direct trade were established between Norfolk and Europe, it would give increased prosperity to every interest in the commonwealth. It would secure for us a commercial independence" and it would give us a "great interior and exterior trade" the latter from "ships sailing directly to Europe, at regular intervals from the port of Norfolk."i

The feeling in the North was the polar opposite. There was panic. Shortly after Letcher's speech, The Manchester (N.H.) Union Democrat warned:

The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing. The transportation of cotton and its fabrics employs more ships than all other trade. The first result will be that Northern ships and ship owners will go to the South. They are doing it even now.ii

Governor Letcher continued with great enthusiasm:

I am entirely satisfied, that if direct trade were established between Norfolk and Europe, it would result in the enlargement of our cities, the increase of our agricultural products, the development of our resources, the creation of manufactures, the enhancement of the value of lands, the opening of the coal and mineral beds, make the stock which the state owns in her rail roads productive -- and the end would be a diminution of the state debt, as well as lower taxes.iii

The Union Democrat continued with despair:

In the manufacturing departments, we now have the almost exclusive supply of 10,000,000 of people. Can this market be cut off, and we not feel it? Our mills run now--why? Because they have cotton. . . . But they will not run long. We hear from good authority that some of them will stop in sixty days. We don't need any authority--everybody knows they must stop if our national troubles are not adjusted. An inflexible law cannot be violated. The shoe business is completely prostrate. . . .iv (Bold emphasis added.)

The Union Democrat gave the North 60 days before their mills would stop because they would have no cotton. It is no coincidence that in 55 days, Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South.

On February 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis had said in his inaugural address as Provisional President of the Confederate States of America that the South would immediately establish the "freest trade" possible with the rest of the world:

. . . [As] an agricultural people, whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country, our true policy is peace, and the freest trade which our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities. There can be little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northeastern States of the American Union. It must follow, therefore, that a mutual interest would invite good will and kind offices.v

But Davis's good will could not touch the impending disaster in the North. There was no mention of slavery by the Union Democrat or anywhere else in the North because slavery was not the cause of the war. The North could care less about slavery or helping black people. The Union Democrat writes the day after Davis's inaugural:

[W]hen people realize the fact that the Union is permanently dissolved, real estate will depreciate one half in a single year.--Our population will decrease with the decline of business, and matters will go in geometrical progression from bad to worse--until all of us will be swamped in utter ruin. Let men consider--apply the laws of business, and see if they can reach any different

Northern businessmen had already concluded that the Union had to be preserved or there would be "economic suicide" in the North as Philip S. Foner pointed out.

The North's Morrill Tariff, adopted March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln's first inaugural and six weeks before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, was like pumping gasoline into a fire. It was astronomical and made entry of goods into the North 37 to 50% higher than entry into the South.

Southerners were brilliant. They had always wanted free trade so they made protective tariffs unconstitutional. Northerners were not only greedy but utterly ignorant of basic economics.

The Morrill Tariff immediately re-routed most of the trade of the United States away from the North and into the South in one fell swoop.

The North was unquestionably going to lose most of its trade and a huge amount of its wealth and power all at once. Nobody in the world wanted to do business with the North and pay 37 to 50% more for the pleasure when the beautiful sultry ports of the South -- Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, Galveston, Mobile, et al. -- beckoned. The world, and Northern ship captains, were beating a path to the South where free trade reigned and the most demanded commodities on earth were abundant, and where protective tariffs were unconstitutional.

The Morrill Tariff is the epitome of Northern greed and abuse of the economic system, which are major, primary causes of the War Between the States. Its imminent passage had caused "a fierce onslaught by all sorts of interests." Ida Tarbell, historian and Lincoln biographer, said that protection of 20% was even given to wood-screws though there was "but one small factory for wood-screws in the country." The Rhode Island senator who had gotten this protection, Sen. James F. Simmons, was from then on known as "Wood-Screw Simmons."vii

Wood-Screw Simmons is a cute story but there is nothing cute about the 800,000 lives lost in the War Between the States or the million who were wounded.

The Morrill Tariff slammed the door shut on any possibility that the North would be able to deal with the loss of its captive Southern market and now its shipping industry. Northerners had said over and over that their labor needed protection, that they could not compete on an even basis with Europe. Out of a sense of entitlement from long years of protectionism that benefited the North at the expense of the rest of the country, they were not even willing to try.

They were also petrified of the industrialization of the South, which was a certainty. Southerners were extremely excited about developing their own manufacturing.

The secession of the South and the Morrill Tariff were the perfect storm of economic disaster for the North. The Morrill Tariff guaranteed that the Northern economy would not recover but that wasn't the worst of it.

With the goods of the world flowing into Southern ports, they would then be floated up the Mississippi and distributed throughout the rest of the country. Southerners had always wanted more trade with the West and now they would have it.

The New York Evening Post ten days after the passage of the Morrill Tariff stated the hopelessness of the Northern position:

[A]llow railroad iron to be entered at Savannah with the low duty of ten per cent., which is all that the Southern Confederacy think of laying on imported goods, and not an ounce more would be imported at New York: the railways would be supplied from the southern ports. Let cotton goods, let woolen fabrics, let the various manufactures of iron and steel be entered freely at Galveston, at the great port at the mouth of the Mississippi, at Mobile, at Savannah and at Charleston, and they would be immediately sent up the rivers and carried on the railways to the remotest parts of the Union.viii

Philip S. Foner confirms the position of the New York Evening Post:

A Southern Confederacy made economically independent of the North meant, of course, the total loss [to the North] of Southern trade [and] would very likely attract to it the agrarian sections of the Southwest and Northwest. The [Northern] merchants knew that the South had sought for years to cement economic ties with the West. Prior to the secession movement it had failed. But direct trade with England on the basis of a low tariff or free trade, together with the aid of English capital for railroad connections with the West, would be too attractive to be rejected by the Western states.ix

English capital would build factories and railroads, and the South, with its free trade philosophy and control of King Cotton, would not only dominate United States trade thanks to the Morrill Tariff, but would manufacture, ship, and compete in every respect in world commerce. There was nothing preventing this and every reason for the South to rush forward. Free trade is what it had always wanted.

Cotton and other bountiful Southern commodities would be a hop and a skip to Southern manufacturing facilities, which would be a hop and a skip to Southern ports. People would immigrate into the South and increase its wealth and power as had happened in the North for the past half century. Southerners did not need high tariffs and protectionism. They would compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world. They were enthusiastic, confident, and anxious to get going.


i Governor John Letcher, "Governor John Letcher's Message on Federal Relations to the legislature of Virginia in extraordinary session on January 7, 1861," in Journal of the House of Delegates of the State of Virginia, for the Extra Session, 1861 (Richmond: William F. Ritchie, Public Printer, 1861), Document I, iii-xxvii.

ii The Manchester (N.H.) Union Democrat, "Let Them Go!", editorial of February 19, 1861, in Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol. II, 592.

iii Letcher, "Governor John Letcher's Message on Federal Relations to the legislature of Virginia in extraordinary session on January 7, 1861," Document I, iii-xxvii.

iv The Manchester (N.H.) Union Democrat, "Let Them Go!", editorial of February 19, 1861 in Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol. II, 592.

v Jefferson Davis, "Inaugural Address," as Provisional President of the Confederate States of America, 18 February 1861, at Montgomery, Alabama in Lynda Lasswell Crist, ed., The Papers of Jefferson Davis (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992), Volume 7, 46-50.

vi The Manchester (N.H.) Union Democrat, "Let Them Go!", editorial of February 19, 1861 in Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol. II, 592.

vii Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, 65; and Ida M. Tarbell, The Tariff in Our Times (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1911), 8-11.

viii New York Evening Post, March 12, 1861, "What Shall Be Done for a Revenue?" in Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol II, 598.

ix Foner, Business & Slavery, 284.

Harper's Weekly, April 13, 1861

Harper's Weekly
April 13, 1861

The New Tariff on Dry Goods.

Unhappy condition of the Optic Nerve of a Custom House Appraiser who has been counting the Threads in a Square Yard of Fabric to ascertain the duty thereon under the New MORRILL Tariff. The Spots and Webs are well-known Opthalmic Symptoms. It is confidently expected that the unfortunate man will go blind.

The Confederate States of America: 1861 Was 1776 All Over

The Confederate States of America:

1861 Was 1776 All Over

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

The formation of the Confederate States of America by the people of the South through their secession conventions was the greatest expression of democracy and self-government in the history of the world.

(This post is Chapter Five of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available on this website)

Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. by Gene Kizer, Jr. - front cover - slavery not the cause of the Civil War

Southerners revered the Founding Fathers and quoted the Declaration of Independence extensively in the secession debate in the South in the months before seceding from the Union. As stated earlier, George Washington is front and center on the Great Seal of the Confederacy. The most widely quoted phrase of the secession debate comes from the Declaration of Independence:

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. (Bold emphasis added.)

The formation of the Confederate States of America by the people of the South through their secession conventions was the greatest expression of democracy and self-government in the history of the world.

How could it not be? Millions of people in a land mass as great as Europe rose up in state after state and invoked Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Washington and others of their Revolutionary sires. There were only 85 years between 1776 and 1861. The Revolution and Declaration of Independence were still fresh in the minds and hearts of Southerners.

They withdrew from an economically confiscatory government run by people who hated them, and formed a new one more to their liking "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."1 And they stood ready, with great enthusiasm, to fight for their sacred right of self-government.

Sovereignty resides with the people. The people are the sovereign.

Conventions of the people in their respective states to decide one issue, such as secession, are the infallible way to express the will of the people -- the consent of the governed. Conventions of the people are closer to the sovereign than even their legislatures, and the precedent of using a convention to decide an extremely important issue comes straight from the Founding Fathers who instructed that states use conventions to ratify the Constitution rather than their legislatures.

The just powers of the government of the Confederate States of America were granted by the people of the South in their secession conventions. The United States Government in 1861 no longer had the consent of the governed in the South or any just powers. The government of the United States had become the government of the North pledged against the South, as Wendell Phillips had proclaimed about the Republicans now in power.

Southerners were fed up with massive unfair taxation that greatly benefited the North, and years of hatred used by Republicans to rally their votes. Southerners did not trust the North and for good reason. They felt that the North was already at war with them via terrorists like John Brown who was financed in the North, then celebrated in the North for murdering Southerners. William Gilmore Simms said:

Do you not see that, when Hate grows into open insolence, that the enemy is prepared to gratify all his passions? -- that, having so far presumed upon our imbecility as to spit his scorn and venom into our very faces, he feels sure of his power to destroy!2

In each Southern state, Southerners debated secession vigorously, even ferociously, before calling conventions. They elected delegates as Unionists or Secessionists who went into the conventions and debated the issue further, then they voted. In only two states was the vote unanimous for secession: South Carolina, the first state to secede; and North Carolina, after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South.

It is extremely important to note that only seven states seceded, at first, and formed the Confederate States of America. Virginia had called a convention but voted not to secede. Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina had not seceded either. That meant that when the guns of Fort Sumter sounded, there were more slave states in the Union than in the Confederacy.3

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the secession of Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina had NOTHING to do with slavery. They seceded after the bombardment of Fort Sumter when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South, and they did so because they were against federal coercion of a sovereign state, which they found illegal, unconstitutional and immoral. The federal government was supposed to be the agent of the people in their respective states, and not their master. No one group of states had any right or authority to make war on another group.


1 The Confederate States of America was the mirror image of the original American republic of 1776 but with improvements. The Confederate Constitution strengthened States' Rights and eliminated the "general welfare" language that gave the federal government too much power.

Protective tariffs were outlawed. Never again would one section of the country benefit at the expense of another as the North had so greatly benefited at the expense of the rest of the country and especially the South. Taxation would be uniform as the Founding Fathers intended.

Southerners were committed to free trade with the world and hoped that would include the North as Jefferson Davis said in his inaugural.

Spending for infrastructure improvements from the general treasury was also outlawed because it had been so unfair in the Union for the South to pay 3/4ths of the taxes while 3/4ths of the tax money was spent in the North.

Southerners were not against internal improvements whatsoever. They strongly encouraged them but wanted each state to decide for itself what it wanted to spend money on. They felt it was unjust to take money from the people of one state and give it to the people in another.

The Confederate Constitution, while similar to the U.S. Constitution, had a lot of practical things in it such as a single six-year term for the president so he wasn't constantly campaigning. Also, every bill had to be truthfully labeled.

Of course, slavery was not required. It was up to each individual state. Southerners expected many free states would join the Confederacy for economic reasons and this was a great concern to Abraham Lincoln.

2 William Gilmore Simms, "South Carolina in the Revolution. The Social Moral. Lecture 1", unpublished 1857 lecture housed in the Charles Carroll Simms Collection of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 4-5.

3 As previously stated in Note #29 of Gene Kizer, Jr., Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. (Charleston, SC: Charleston Athenaeum Press, 2014), the eight slave states in the Union on April 12, 1861 when Fort Sumter was bombarded are Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri. West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a slave state during the war. The seven states to first secede and form the Confederate States of America are South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Panic in the Volatile North; Horace Greeley the Hypocrite

Panic in the Volatile North;

Horace Greeley the Hypocrite

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. . . . Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. . . . millions of our people would be compelled to go out of employment.

Daily-Chicago Times
December 10, 1860

One week before South Carolina's
Secession Convention was to convene

(This post is Chapter Four of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., available on this website)

Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. by Gene Kizer, Jr. - front cover - slavery not the cause of the Civil War

When Northerners began realizing how truly dependent they were on the South, they flew into a panic. Horace Greeley is the embodiment of the North and he proved himself a hypocrite of the first order.

On December 17, 1860, the day South Carolina's Secession Convention began, Greeley published a long emotional editorial in the New York Daily Tribune affirming and supporting the right of secession as not only legal but moral. He is known for saying  that our "erring sisters should be allowed to depart in peace."

In "The Right of Secession," Greeley writes:

-- We have repeatedly asked those who dissent from our view of this matter to tell us frankly whether they do or do not assent to Mr. Jefferson's statement in the Declaration of Independence that governments "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed; and that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government," &c., &c. 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. If we are mistaken on this point, why does not some one attempt to show wherein and why? . . . -- we could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation, for we do not think it would be just. We hold the right of Self-Government sacred, even when invoked in behalf of those who deny it to others . . . if ever 'seven or eight States' send agents to Washington to say 'We want to get out of the Union,' we shall feel constrained by our devotion to Human Liberty to say, Let Them Go! And we do not see how we could take the other side without coming in direct conflict with those Rights of Man which we hold paramount to all political arrangements, however convenient and advantageous.1

But three months later, as the Northern economy collapsed around him and genuine panic ensued with plummeting property values, business failures, factory closures, an imminent stock market crash, people in the streets, goods rotting on New York docks, and utter disaster on the horizon, he wanted war. The entire North wanted war. They all agreed with the New York Times: "At once shut down every Southern Port, destroy its commerce and bring utter ruin on the Confederate states."2

The hypocrisy of Greeley, as the embodiment of the North, is breathtaking.

He writes in his newspaper that "We hold the right of Self-government sacred," and we believe in the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, and we believe in the "just powers" of the government coming from the "consent of the governed," and we believe in the "Right of the People to alter or to abolish" a tyrannical government -- and we believe in a "devotion to Human Liberty" and the "Rights of Man" no matter how "convenient and advantageous" our current situation -- and his most hypocritical of hypocritical statements, that "we could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation, for we do not think it would be just."

He then casts all his sacred principles to the ground and spits all over them. He spits on the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers too, and he grinds the Declaration of Independence into the dirt with his heel because they all were secondary to his money -- and the North was with him in lockstep.3

Backtrack to December, 1860, as South Carolina's Secession Convention gets underway. South Carolina Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens reflected the utter thrill and ecstasy of the South over its forthcoming independence. He said in his inaugural message that South Carolina would "open her ports free to the tonnage and trade of all nations, . . . . She has fine harbors, accessible to foreign commerce, and she is in the centre of those extensive agricultural productions, that enter so largely into the foreign trade and commerce of the world."4 He said South Carolina would immediately seek free trade relationships with all countries, especially England, and

it is for the benefit of all who may be interested in commerce, in manufactories, and in the comforts of artizans and mechanic labor everywhere, to make such speedy and peaceful arrangements with us as may advance the interests and happiness of all concerned.5

Contrast that with Northern panic in the same week from The Chicago Times:

In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue,6 and these results would likely follow. If protection be wholly withdrawn from our labor, it could not compete, with all the prejudices against it, with the labor of Europe. We should be driven from the market, and millions of our people would be compelled to go out of employment.7 (Bold emphasis added.)

New York City was petrified and ready to secede from New York State over the certain loss of its commercial trade with the South. The situation was too "gloomy and painful to contemplate" according to Mayor Fernando Wood. He issued his "Recommendation for the Secession of New York City" on January 6, 1861 to make it clear that New York supported the South and valued its trade with the South and wanted to keep it:

When Disunion has become a fixed and certain fact, why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master -- to a people and a party [Lincoln's Republicans] that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, and destroyed the Confederacy [meaning the pre-secession Union with the Southern States intact] of which she was the proud Empire City? Amid the gloom which the present and prospective condition of things must cast over the country, New York, as a Free City, may shed the only light and hope of a future reconstruction of our once blessed Confederacy. . . .8

Northern society was volatile, anyway, wild and unstable, subject to economic panics (severe recessions/depression, bank failures, etc.). The entire decade before the war, the North was chaotic, dangerous, often a wretched place to live. The scenes in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York are true to life but don't even begin to tell the real story.

Widespread poverty kept the working classes hungry and in turmoil. Constant immigration from Europe increased the pressure steadily and made the North a boiler on the verge of exploding. Most immigrants arrived with little or no money yet had to survive. They headed straight to factories and "industrial misery" where a man could work for only a few brutal years before his body was ruined by black lung and other diseases due to unhealthy conditions in crude factories.

Industrial turmoil in the North mirrored Europe. European agitation was transferred to the North with "strikes and demonstrations, far-reaching, prolonged and repeated, never more volcanic in character than in the decade that preceded the Civil War."9

There was genuine concern that if the enfranchised but miserable poor ever got organized, they would vote themselves into power then confiscate the property of wealthy people and redistribute it. It had happened in other places.

Some historians believe it did happen in the North but the property taken was not that of a ruling class. It was the western lands. That is why the West was such a huge campaign issue in 1860. When Horace Greeley said, "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country," it was not just a good idea. It was the pressure valve of the Northern boiler that was about to explode -- and it released the North's surplus population to the West like steam into the wind.

William Gilmore Simms had toured the North on a lecture tour in 1856 and noted that Republican promises are "Addressed to a class, counting millions of desperate men, whom a grinding daily necessity makes reckless of every consideration of law, justice and the constitution."10 He also said the North "is all wild, disordered, anarchical, ready for chaos and disruption. And, the Northern mind, where not fanatical, is marked by a frivolity, a levity, which makes it reluctant to grapple seriously with serious things."11 In the Panic of 1857, tens of thousands of hungry workers had roamed the streets of Northern cities in mobs shouting "bread or blood!"

Republicans had rallied those voters with slogans like "Vote yourself a tariff" and "Vote yourself a farm." Historian Mary Beard wrote that "when the Republicans in their platform of 1860 offered free land to the workingmen of the world in exchange for a protective tariff" they got a "tumultuous response."12

Northern anti-slavery was in no sense a pro-black movement but was anti-black. It was a way to rally votes. Might as well substitute the term "anti-South" for "anti-slavery" because it was anti-South -- against the South -- not pro-black.

Historian James L. Huston states well the Northern attitude toward slavery:

If opposition to slavery had involved only antagonism toward racial oppression, then the northern attack would have barely existed. The North was not a racially egalitarian section seeking to establish equitable race relations in the slaveholding South.13

Many of the genuine abolitionists in the North -- the 2 to 5% mentioned by Lee Benson and Gavin Wright -- were racists. This is a great irony but many hated slavery because they hated blacks and did not want to associate with them, especially in the West.

David M. Potter states that Northern anti-slavery was "not in any clear-cut sense a pro-Negro movement but actually had an anti-Negro aspect and was designed to get rid of the Negro."14

Abraham Lincoln also wanted to "get rid of the Negro." He had always supported recolonization. As stated earlier, Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is clear that "the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent, or elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the Governments existing there, will be continued."

Some abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison had real concern for black people. Robert Toombs said Garrison was a man of conviction who would not take an oath to the U.S. Constitution because it protected slavery. Toombs said the good abolitionists like Garrison did not trust the "political abolitionists" and wanted nothing to do with them.

These political abolitionists -- the other 95 to 98% of the Northern electorate -- wanted something from the government such as free land in the West, a protective tariff, bounty, subsidy or monopoly for their businesses. Some were working men afraid of competition with slave labor, especially in the West. All had been led to believe that if they voted Republican, the Republican Party would bring them riches beyond their wildest imaginations, farms, tariffs, land, whatever they wanted. This was not a pro-black movement in any way. It was a carnival of greed and special interests.

Charles P. Roland in An American Iliad, The Story of the Civil War acknowledges the economic and racist character of Northern anti-slavery:

There was a significant economic dimension in the Northern antislavery sentiment, the fear of competition from slave labor and the awareness that work itself was degraded by slavery. Finally and paradoxically, a racial factor contributed to the Northern attitude. Antipathy against slavery often went hand in hand with racism that was similar in essence, if not in pervasiveness of intensity, to the Southern racial feeling. Many Northerners objected to the presence of slavery in their midst, in part, because they objected to the presence of blacks there.15

Alexis de Tocqueville observed the Northern racist attitude as well and said "Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known."16

Many Northern and Western states had laws prohibiting free blacks from settling there including Lincoln's own Illinois. In Illinois, it was called "An act to prevent the immigration of free Negroes into this State" and it said that any free black person staying longer than 10 days "was subject to arrest and imprisonment."17

Wars are not fought over issues like slavery.

Mothers and fathers do not send their precious sons off to die because they don't like the domestic institutions in other countries.

No country in history had a war to end slavery, and neither did we. Most nations ended slavery with gradual, compensated emancipation, or some variation thereof. That's what Lincoln always favored.

The domestic institutions in other countries affect no one, but a threat to one's economy affects everyone and is extremely dangerous. It must be dealt with immediately before it gets out of hand.

An economic collapse progresses with lightning speed into panic, runs on banks, mob violence, anarchy, and the collapse of the government itself. People are desperate, have no food, no money. Men have no way to protect their wives and daughters from rape, murder, violence. Civil law breaks down and is replaced by the law of the jungle.

No government is going to let that happen. That's why we fought two Gulf Wars. Any threat to the free-flow of oil from the Middle East is a threat to our economy.


1 "The Right of Secession," The New-York Daily Tribune, December 17, 1860, in Howard Cecil Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1964), 199-201.

2 The New-York Times, 22-23 March, 1861, as quoted in Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, 65.

3 If the North had granted the right of secession as Greeley had so strongly supported at first, there would have been no War Between the States. Greeley and the North could have formed a new relationship with the South and traded, done business, and been friends. However, Northerners saw their economic collapse and loss of wealth and power with no hope of regaining it. They knew 60% of U.S. exports had been cotton, alone, which they got wealthy shipping. They knew those cargoes would be irreplaceable. They knew Great Britain would supply manufactured goods to the South cheaper than the North, and that Southerners would soon manufacture for themselves. So, Northerners weighed their enormous advantages at that point in history and decided a bloody war of invasion and conquest to maintain their economic supremacy over a peace-seeking, independent South was better for them than fair economic competition in the world market. It would solve all Lincoln's political problems by causing Northerners to rally to the flag. It would also put people to work. (Bold emphasis added.)

4 Francis Wilkinson Pickens, "Inaugural Message of South Carolina Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens," published 18 December 1860 in The (Charleston, S.C.) Courier.

5 Ibid.

6 See also Footnote #47 in Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. for the difference between tariff for revenue and protective tariff. What is meant by "a tariff for revenue" is a small tariff to raise a small amount of revenue to pay for the operation of a small federal government such as the government of the Confederate States of America. Southerners had always wanted free trade with the world. They believed in as small a tariff as possible. Contrast a small tariff for revenue with the huge protective tariffs the North loved that were punitive and meant to deter free trade so that one would be forced to buy from the North at jacked-up rates that were not determined by market competition but were jacked-up to the level of the tariff. The tariff is the perfect thing to contrast the differences in North and South. The moment the South was out of the Union, they made protective tariffs unconstitutional while the North passed the astronomical Morrill Tariff. The Morrill Tariff prevented the recovery of the Northern economy and made war Abraham Lincoln's only choice to save the North from economic annihilation. Of course, Lincoln's choice resulted in 800,000 deaths and over a million wounded out of a population of approximately 31 million.

7 Daily Chicago Times, "The Value of the Union," December 10, 1860, in Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol. II, 573-574.

8 Mayor Fernando Wood, "Mayor Fernando Wood's Recommendation for the Secession of New York City," January 6, 1861, in Henry Steele Commager, ed., Documents of American History, Sixth Edition (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc.), 374-376.

9 Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, The Rise of American Civilization (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1936), Vol. 1, 633-634.

10 Simms, "Antagonisms," 72-74.

11 Simms, "Antagonisms," 36-39.

12 Beard and Beard, The Rise of American Civilization, 649.

13 James L. Huston, "Property Rights in Slavery and the Coming of the Civil War," Journal of Southern History, Volume LXV, Number 2, May, 1999, 263-264.

14 Potter, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861, 35-36.

15 Charles P. Roland, An American Iliad, The Story of the Civil War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1991), 3.

16 Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. by George Lawrence (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), v. 1, 342, in Jeffrey Rogers Hummel Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, A History of the American Civil War (Chicago: Open Court, 1996), 26.

17 H. Newcomb Morse, "The Foundations and Meaning of Secession," Stetson Law Review of Stetson University College of Law, Vol. XV, No. 2, 1986, footnote #28, 423.