Lincoln and Fort Sumter, by Charles W. Ramsdell – Part 1

In March, 1861, as the Northern economy crumbled around him, Abraham Lincoln decided war was his only way out.

Lincoln and Fort Sumter

by Charles W. Ramsdell

Part 1

Lincoln and Fort Sumter  is the most famous treatise ever written on how Abraham Lincoln manipulated events in Charleston Harbor to start a war April 12, 1861 that killed over 750,000 people and maimed a million more. Lincoln's war destroyed the republic of the Founding Fathers and established the supremacy of the Federal Government and Northern majority over the states, which was his goal all along. Charles W. Ramsdell (1877-1942), known as the Dean of Southern Historians, is brilliant and riveting. His In Memoriam at the University of Texas states: "In all that pertained to the history of the Southern Confederacy, his scholarship was decisive."

(Lincoln and Fort Sumter is Part III of Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., and is included in Charles W. Ramsdell, Dean of Southern Historians, Volume One: His Best Work, both 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
Charles W Ramsdell - Dean of Southern Historians - "Lincoln and Fort Sumter" "The Natural Limits of Slavery Expansion" - Compiled by Gene Kizer Jr

Citation:

Charles W. Ramsdell, "Lincoln and Fort Sumter," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 3, Issue 3 (August, 1937), 259 - 288. Original copyright 1937, Southern Historical Association. This article, text and notes, comes verbatim from the original article. One footnote, vii, and a comment to footnote xii, were added by Gene Kizer, Jr. Both are so noted.

 

WHEN THE CONFEDERATE BATTERIES around Charleston Harbor opened fire on Fort Sumter in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, they signaled the beginning of the most calamitous tragedy in the history of the American people. Because the Confederate authorities ordered the attack it is generally held that they were directly responsible for the horrors of the ensuing four years. Certainly that was the feeling in the North, then and afterwards, and it became the verdict of austere historians.

Whether the war was inevitable, in any case, is a question that need not be raised here. It has been the subject of endless disputation and is one to which no conclusive answer can be given. But even though it be conceded that if the conflict had not arisen from the Fort Sumter crisis it would have sprung from some other incident growing out of the secession of the "cotton states," the actual firing of the "first shot" placed the Southerners under a great moral and material disadvantage. The general Northern conviction that the "rebels" had made an unprovoked attack upon the little Federal garrison added thousands of volunteers to the Union armies and strengthened the determination of the Northern people to carry the struggle through to the complete subjugation of the South.

The Confederate leaders who ordered the bombardment were not vicious, feeble-minded, irresponsible, or inexperienced men. As even a casual investigation will show, they had been fully aware of the danger of taking the initiative in hostilities and had hoped for peace. How then could they be so blind as to place themselves at this manifest disadvantage?

The story of the development of the Fort Sumter crisis has been told many times, but it is so full of complexities that there is little wonder that many of its most significant features have been obscured with a resultant loss of perspective. On the one hand, most accounts have begun with certain assumptions which have affected the interpretation of the whole mass of evidence; on the other, too little credit has been given to Abraham Lincoln's genius for political strategy, which is truly surprising in view of all the claims that have been made for the abilities of that very remarkable man. The purpose of this paper is to place the facts already known in their logical and chronological order and to re-evaluate them in that setting in the belief that when thus arranged they will throw new light upon this momentous affair.

The early stages of the Sumter problem can be dealt with in summary form. It is well known that six days after the secession of South Carolina Major Robert Anderson, who had been stationed at Fort Moultrie in command of all the United States forces in Charleston Harbor, abandoned Moultrie and moved his command into the new and still unfinished Fort Sumter where he thought his force would be better able to resist attack. The South Carolina authorities evidently had had no intention of attacking him for they thought they had an understanding with President Buchanan for maintaining the military status quo; but they immediately occupied Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney and made protest to Buchanan, demanding that Anderson be sent back to Moultrie. Buchanan refused to admit their ground of protest or to order Anderson back; then early in January he ordered relief to be sent secretly to the garrison on a merchant steamer. This vessel, The Star of the West, was forced back from the entrance of the harbor by the military authorities of the state, and the South Carolinians were with some difficulty restrained by the leaders in other Southern states from assaulting Fort Sumter. Thereafter Buchanan refrained from the use of force, partly because Anderson insisted that he was in no danger, partly because he still hoped for some peaceful adjustment, if not by Congress itself, then by the Peace Conference which was soon to assemble in Washington, and partly because he was averse during the last weeks of his term to beginning hostilities for which he was unprepared.

By February 1 six other cotton states had passed ordinances of secession and each of them, as a matter of precaution and largely because of the happenings at Charleston, seized the forts, arsenals, customs houses, and navy yards within its own borders. There were two exceptions, both in Florida. Fort Taylor, at Key West, was left undisturbed; and Fort Pickens, at the entrance of Pensacola Bay and on the extreme western tip of Santa Rosa Island, was occupied by a small Federal force much as Fort Sumter had been.

Since Fort Pickens plays a part in the development of the Sumter crisis, some explanation of the situation at that point becomes necessary. In the beginning this fort was not occupied by troops, but a  company of artillery, under Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, was stationed at Barrancas Barracks, across the neck of the bay about a mile and a half to the north of Pickens, and close by the Navy Yard. The town of Pensacola was some six miles farther up the bay. On January 10 Lieutenant Slemmer, hearing that the governors of Florida and Alabama were about to send troops to seize the forts and the Navy Yard and in accordance with instructions from General Winfield Scott, removed his small command to Fort Pickens. On the twelfth the Navy Yard capitulated to the combined state forces under Colonel W. H. Chase. Chase then demanded the surrender of Fort Pickens, which Slemmer refused. After some further correspondence between the two opposing officers, a group of nine Southern senators in Washington, on January 18, urged that no attack should be made on Fort Pickens because it was "not worth a drop of blood."i These senators believed that the Republicans in Congress were hoping to involve the Buchanan administration in hostilities in order that the war might open before Lincoln's inauguration. On January 29 an agreement was effected at Washington by Senator Stephen R. Mallory of Florida, and others, with President Buchanan and his secretaries of War and the Navy to the effect that no reinforcement would be sent to Fort Pickens and no attack would be made upon it by the secessionists.ii The situation at Fort Pickens then became somewhat like that at Fort Sumter; but there were certain differences. Fort Pickens did not threaten the town of Pensacola as Fort Sumter did Charleston; it was easily accessible from the sea if reinforcements should be decided upon; and there was no such excitement over its continued occupation by the United States troops as there was about Sumter.

As soon as the new Confederate government was organized the Confederate Congress, on February 12, by resolution took charge of "questions existing between the several States of this Confederacy and the United States respecting the occupation of forts, arsenals, navy yards and other public establishments." This hurried action was taken in order to get the management of the Sumter question out of the hands of the impatient and rather headlong Governor Francis W. Pickens of South Carolina, who, it was feared, might precipitate war at any time.iii In fact, the public mind, North and South, sensed accurately that the greatest danger to peace lay in Charleston Harbor.

This danger, of course, was in the irreconcilable views of the two governments concerning their respective claims to the fort. To the Washington officials Sumter was not merely the legal property of the Federal government; its possession was a symbol of the continuity and integrity of that government. To withdraw the garrison at the demand of the secessionists would be equivalent to acknowledging the legality of secession and the dissolution of the Union. There was also, especially with the military officials, a point of honor involved; they could not yield to threats of force. The attitude of the Southerners was based upon equally imperative considerations. In their view the Confederate States no longer had any connection with the government on the Potomac; they were as independent as that other seceded nation, Belgium. No independent government could maintain its own self-respect or the respect of foreign governments if it permitted another to hold an armed fortress within the harbor of one of its principal cities. When South Carolina had ceded the site for the fortification it had done so for its own protection. That protection was now converted into a threat, for the guns of Sumter dominated not only every point in the harbor but the city of Charleston itself. We may conceive an analogous situation by supposing that Great Britain at the close of the American Revolution had insisted upon retaining a fortress within the harbor of Boston or of New York. The Confederate government could not, without yielding the principle of independence, abate its claims to the fort.

During the last six weeks of Buchanan's term the situation at Charleston remained relatively quiet. Anderson and his engineers did what they could to strengthen the defenses of Sumter; while the state and Confederate officers established batteries around the harbor both to repel any future relief expedition and, in case of open hostilities, to reduce the fort. Although Governor Pickens had wished to press demands for surrender and to attack the fort if refused, he had first sought the advice of such men as Governor Joseph E. Brown of Georgia and Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. Both advised against any such action, partly because they still had some hope of peace and partly because they saw the danger of taking the initiative.iv Although Anderson was under constant surveillance, he was allowed free use of the mails and was permitted to purchase for his men fresh meats and vegetables in the Charleston market. Other necessities, which under army regulations he must procure from the regular supply departments of the army, he was not allowed to receive because that would be permitting the Federal government to send relief to the garrison and involve an admission of its right to retain the fort. Anderson consistently informed the authorities at Washington during this time that he was safe and that he could hold out indefinitely. The Confederate government, having taken over from the state all negotiations concerning the fort, was moving cautiously with the evident hope of avoiding hostilities. On February 15 the Confederate Congress by resolution requested President Davis to appoint three commissioners to negotiate with the United States "all questions of disagreement between the two governments" and Davis appointed them on February 25.v They reached Washington on March 5, the day after Lincoln's inauguration.

Southern as well as Northern men waited anxiously to learn what policy would be indicated by the new President of the United States in his inaugural address. It is not necessary to dwell long on what Abraham Lincoln said in that famous paper. He stated plainly that he regarded the Union as unbroken, the secession of the seven cotton states as a nullity. In this he merely took the position that Buchanan had taken. He also said that he would enforce the laws of the Union in all the states; but he immediately softened this declaration by saying that he would not use violence unless it should be forced upon the national authority. Then he added, "The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere." And later on: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors." How is it possible to reconcile the declaration that he would occupy "the property and places belonging to the government" with the promise that the government would not assail his dissatisfied fellow countrymen who either held or claimed the right to those places? While ostensibly addressing the Southerners, was he really directing these last soothing words to the anxious antiwar elements in the North? Although it is improbable that he had this early any definite plan in mind, his warning that the secessionists would be the aggressors, if civil war should come, may be significant in view of what he was to be engaged in exactly a month from that day.

But the inaugural should not be regarded as the declaration of a definite program; for while the new President was careful to lay down the general principle that the Union was legally unbroken, he refrained with equal care from committing himself to any course of action. If he hedged at every point where a statement of active policy was expected, it was because he could not know what he would be able to do. Caution was necessary; it was not merely political expediency, it was at that juncture political wisdom. Cautious reticence, until he knew his way was clear, was a very marked trait of Abraham Lincoln.vi There is another characteristic quality in this address. Lincoln had developed an extraordinary skill in so phrasing his public utterances as to arouse in each special group he singled out for attention just the reaction he desired. To the extreme and aggressive Republicans the inaugural indicated a firm determination to enforce obedience upon the secessionists; to the Northern moderates and peace advocates, as well as to the anxious Unionists of the border slave states not yet seceded,vii it promised a conciliatory attitude; in the seceded states it was interpreted as threatening coercion and had the effect of hastening preparations for defense.

In the latter part of the address Lincoln had counseled the people generally to avoid precipitate action and to take time to think calmly about the situation. He doubtless hoped to be able to take time himself; but he discovered within a few hours that there was one problem whose solution could not be long postponed. On the very day of his inauguration Buchanan's secretary of war, Joseph Holt, received a letter from Major Anderson in which for the first time the commander at Fort Sumter expressed doubt of his ability to maintain himself. More than this, Anderson estimated that, in the face of the Confederate batteries erected about the harbor, it would require a powerful fleet and a force of twenty thousand men to give permanent relief to the garrison. Since it was his last day in office, Buchanan had the letter referred to Lincoln; and when on March 5, Holt submitted it to the new President he accompanied it with a report sharply reviewing Anderson's previous assurances of his safety.viii Lincoln called General Scott into conference and the General concurred with Anderson. After a few days of further consideration Scott was of the same opinion and was sustained by General Joseph G. Totten, chief of the Army Engineers. These men considered the question primarily as a military problem, although Scott could not refrain from injecting political considerations into this written statement. In doing this the aged General was suspected of following the lead of Secretary William H. Seward who was already urging the evacuation of Sumter, in order to avoid precipitating hostilities at that point, and the reinforcement of Fort Pickens in order to assert the authority of the government. Lincoln accepted at least a part of Seward's plan, for on March 12, General Scott, by the President's direction, sent an order to Captain Israel Vogdes, whose artillery company was on board the U. S. Steamer Brooklyn, lying off Fort Pickens, directing him to land his company, reinforce Pickens, and hold it. Instead of sending the order overland, Scott sent it around by sea with the result that it did not reach its destination until April 1, and then the navy captain in command of the ship on which the artillery company was quartered refused to land the troops because the orders from the former Secretary of the Navy directing him to respect the truce with the Confederates had never been countermanded. The fort was not reinforced at that time, a fact of which Lincoln remained ignorant until April 6. We shall return to the Fort Pickens situation later.

Meanwhile Lincoln was considering the Fort Sumter problem. He had learned that Anderson's supplies were running short and that the garrison could not hold out much longer without relief. Although both General Scott and General Totten had advised that the relief of the fort was impracticable with the forces available, Gustavus V. Fox, a former officer of the navy and a brother-in-law of Postmaster-General Montgomery Blair, believed that it would be possible to reach the fort by running small steamers past the Confederate batteries at the entrance to the harbor. Fox had first proposed this to Scott early in February; he now came forward again with the backing of Montgomery Blair and presented his plan and arguments to Lincoln on March 13. The President seems to have been impressed, for on March 15 he asked for the written opinions of his cabinet on the question whether, assuming that it was now possible to provision Sumter, it was wise to attempt it. All, save Montgomery Blair, advised against an expedition.ix Apparently this overwhelming majority of his cabinet at first decided him against the plans, for there is considerable evidence, although it is not conclusive, that he was about to order Anderson to evacuate. Certainly rumors of impending orders for evacuation were coming from various high official circles in Washington, aside from those for which Seward seems to have been responsible.x There is the familiar story of how old Frank Blair, brought to the White House by his son Montgomery, found the President about to sign the evacuation order and protested so vigorously that Lincoln did not sign it.

Lincoln now found himself facing a most difficult and dangerous situation and the more he considered it the more troublesome it appeared. It seems reasonably certain that he never wanted to give up Sumter. As early as December 24, 1860, having heard a wild rumor that the forts in South Carolina were to be surrendered by the order or consent of President Buchanan, he had written from Springfield to Senator Lyman Trumbull that he would, "if our friends at Washington concur, announce publicly at once that they are to be retaken after the inauguration."xi After he had arrived at Washington and had taken up the burden of office he saw that the problem was not so simple as it had looked from the frontier town of Springfield. His Secretary of State, a man of far greater political experience than himself, was urging him to make his stand for the authority of the government at Fort Pickens and not Sumter, for Seward could not see how it would be possible to reinforce Sumter without putting the administration in the position of the aggressor. That would be a fatal mistake. Fort Pickens, on the other hand, could be relieved from the Gulf side without coming into direct conflict with the Confederates.

It would be extremely interesting to know what was passing through Lincoln's mind during those difficult days when, bedeviled by importunate office seekers, he could find little time for considering what he should do about the re-establishment of Federal authority in the seceded states and especially about the imperiled fort at Charleston. As was his habit, he left few clues to his reflections and it is impossible to say with assurance what ideas he picked up, examined, and discarded. One plan which he seems to have entertained for a short while, just after the adverse cabinet vote on relieving Sumter, contemplated the collection of customs duties on revenue vessels, supported by ships of war, just outside the Confederate ports; and there were hints in the press that Anderson's force was to be withdrawn to a ship off Charleston. If it were seriously considered, the plan was soon abandoned, possibly because of legal impediments or more probably because it did not fully meet the needs of the situation.xii But although Lincoln kept his thoughts to himself he must have studied public opinion closely, and we may be able to follow his thinking if we examine for ourselves the attitudes of the several groups in the North as they revealed themselves in those uncertain days of March.

It must not be forgotten that, notwithstanding Lincoln's smashing victory in the free states in November, his party was still new and relatively undisciplined. His support had come from a heterogeneous mass of voters and for a variety of reasons. The slavery issue, the drive for a protective tariff and internal improvements, the promise of free homesteads in the West, and disgust at the split among the Democrats had each played its part. Many voters had been persuaded that there was no real danger of a disruption of the Union in the event of his election. The secession of the border states had now thrown the former issues into the background and thrust to the front the question whether the discontented Southerners should be allowed to depart in peace or whether the government should, as Lincoln phrased it, "enforce the law" and in so doing bring on war with the newly formed Confederacy. As always, when a new and perilous situation arises, the crosscurrents of public opinion were confusing. As Lincoln, pressed on all sides, waited while he studied the drift, he could not fail to note that there was a strong peace party in the North which was urging the settlement of difficulties without resort to force. On the other hand the more aggressive party men among the Republicans, to whom he was under special obligations, were insisting that he exert the full authority of the government even to the extent of war. This group included some of the most active and powerful members of his party whom he could not afford to antagonize. One disturbing factor in the situation was the marked tendency of many voters who had supported him in November to turn against the Republicans, as was shown in a number of local elections in Ohio and New England. While the peace men attributed this reversal to fear of war, the more aggressive Republicans insisted that it was caused by disgust at the rumors that Fort Sumter would be given up to the secessionists.xiii Reinforcing the Northern conservatives were the majorities in the eight border slave states who had thus far refused to secede but who were openly opposed to any "coercive" action against their brethren in the Lower South. The Virginia State Convention, which had convened on February 13 and was in complete control of the conditional Unionists, was still in session, evidently awaiting his decision. Therefore, if he should adopt a strongly aggressive policy he might find himself opposed by the large group of peace men in the North while he precipitated most if not all of the border slave states into secession and union with the Confederacy.xiv If, on the other hand, he failed to act decisively, he was very likely to alienate the radical Republicans who were already manifesting impatience. In either case he would divide his party at the very beginning of his administration and increase the risk of utter failure. There was, however, some cheering evidence among the business elements of a growing irritation against the secessionists because of the depression which had set in with the withdrawal of South Carolina; and if the Confederates should add further offense to their low tariff policy or adopt more aggressive tactics with respect to the forts, this feeling might grow strong enough to overcome the peace men.

He had promised to maintain the Union, but how was he to attempt it without wrecking his chances at the very outset? It was now too late to restore the Union by compromise because, having himself rejected all overtures in December, he could not now afford to offer what he had recently refused. Moreover, there was no indication that the Confederates would accept at this late date any compromise he might proffer. He must do something, for the gradual exhaustion of the supplies of the garrison in Fort Sumter would soon force his hand. He could not order Anderson to evacuate without arousing the wrath of the militant Unionists in the North. If he continued to let matters drift, Anderson himself would have to evacuate when his supplies were gone. While that would relieve the administration of any charge of coercion, it would expose the government to the accusation of disgraceful weakness and improve the chances of the Confederacy for foreign recognition.xv If he left Anderson to his fate and made ostentatious display of reinforcing Fort Pickens, as Seward was urging him to do, would he gain as much as he lost? Was it not best, even necessary, to make his stand at Sumter? But if he should try to relieve Anderson by force of arms, what was the chance of success? Anderson, supported by the high authority of General Scott, thought there was none. If, as Captain Fox believed, swift steamers could run the gauntlet of the Confederate batteries and reach the fort with men and supplies, would they then be able to hold it against attack? Failure in this military movement might seriously damage the already uncertain prestige of the administration. Would it not be looked upon as aggressive war by the border state men and perhaps by the peace men in the North? Could he risk the handicap of appearing to force civil war upon the country? In every direction the way out of his dilemma seemed closed.

There was one remote possibility: the Confederates themselves might precipitate matters by attacking Sumter before Anderson should be compelled to evacuate by lack of supplies. But the Confederates, though watchful, were showing great caution. General P. G. T. Beauregard, in command at Charleston since March 6, was treating Major Anderson with elaborate courtesy. The government at Montgomery was in no hurry to force the issue, partly because it was quite well aware of the danger of assuming the aggressive and partly because it was waiting to see what its commissioners would be able to effect at  Washington, where Seward was holding out hopes to them of the eventual evacuation of Sumter. At some time, while turning these things over in his mind, this daring thought must have occurred to Lincoln: Could the Southerners be induced to attack Sumter, to assume the aggressive and thus put themselves in the wrong in the eyes of the North and of the world?xvi If they could, the latent irritation perceptible among the Northern moderates might flame out against the secessionists and in support of the government. The two wings of his party would unite, some at least of the Democrats would come to his support, even the border-state people might be held, if they could be convinced that the war was being forced by the secessionists. Unless he could unite them in defense of the authority of the government, the peaceable and the "stiff-backed" Republicans would split apart, the party would collapse, his administration would be a failure, and he would go down in history as a weak man who had allowed the Union to crumble in his hands. As things now stood, the only way by which the Union could be restored, his party and his administration saved, was by an unequivocal assertion of the authority of the government, that is, through war. But he must not openly assume the aggressive; that must be done by the secessionists. The best opportunity was at Fort Sumter, but the time left was short for Anderson was running short of essential supplies.

Let us examine closely what Lincoln did after the middle of March, taking care to place each movement as nearly as possible in its exact sequence. We have seen that Captain Fox made his argument to Lincoln for a combined naval and military expedition on March 13 and that the cabinet, with the exception of Montgomery Blair and the equivocal Chase, had voted against it on the fifteenth. Fox then offered to go in person to Fort Sumter to investigate the situation and Lincoln gave him permission. He arrived in Charleston on March 21 and was allowed to see Anderson that night. He and Anderson agreed that the garrison could not hold out longer than noon of April 15. Although Anderson seems to have remained unconvinced of its feasibility, Fox returned to Washington full of enthusiasm for his plan.

On the very day that Fox arrived in Charleston, Lincoln had dispatched to that city a close friend and loyal supporter, Ward H. Lamon, a native of Virginia and his former law partner in Illinois. This sending of Lamon on the heels of Fox is an interesting incident. The precise nature of his instructions has never been fully revealed. Lamon himself, in his Recollections, merely says he was sent "on a confidential mission" and intimates that he was to report on the extent of Unionist feeling in South Carolina. He arrived in Charleston on the night of Saturday, March 23; visited James L. Petigru, the famous Unionist, on Sunday and learned from him that there was no Unionist strength in the state, that "peaceable secession or war was inevitable"; and on Monday morning obtained an interview with Governor Pickens. In reply to questions the Governor stated very positively that any attempt on the part of President Lincoln to reinforce Sumter would bring on war, that only his "unalterable resolve not to attempt any reinforcement" could prevent war. Lamon, whether through innocence or guile, left the impression with the Governor, and also with Anderson whom he was permitted to visit, that the garrison would soon be withdrawn and that his trip was merely to prepare the way for that event. He left Charleston on the night of the twenty-fifth, arrived in Washington on the twenty-seventh, and reported to Lincoln what he had learned.xvii What had he been sent to Charleston to do? There must have been some purpose and it could hardly have been to prepare the way for Anderson's evacuation.xviii Does it strain the evidence to suggest that it was chiefly to find out at first hand how strong was the Southern feeling about relief for Fort Sumter and that this purpose was camouflaged by the vague intimations of evacuation? But it is quite probable that Lamon himself did not understand the real purpose, for it is altogether unlikely that the cautious Lincoln would have divulged so important a secret to his bibulous and impulsive young friend. But if there was such an ulterior purpose, Lincoln now had the information directly from Charleston that any sort of relief would result in an attack upon the fort.

According to Gideon Welles, whose account of these events was written several years later, Lincoln sometime in the latter half of March had informed the members of his cabinet that he would send relief to Sumter. During a cabinet meeting on March 29 (two days after Lamon's return), when the matter was again discussed, Lincoln, at the suggestion of Attorney General Edward Bates, again requested each member to give his opinion in writing on the question of relieving Sumter. Whether Lincoln's known determination, political pressure, or some other influence had effected it, there was a marked change from the advice given just two weeks earlier. Now only Seward and Caleb Smith were for evacuating Sumter, but they both wished to reinforce Fort Pickens. Bates proposed to strengthen Pickens and Key West and said that the time had come either to evacuate Sumter or relieve it. The rest were unequivocally for a relief expedition. Later that day Lincoln directed the secretaries of War and the Navy to co-operate in preparing an expedition to move by sea as early as April 6. The destination was not indicated in the order, but it was Charleston.xix

 

(This is the halfway point of Lincoln and Fort Sumter. Please see Part 2 for the conclusion of this great treatise. Footnotes for Part 1 are below.)

 


i The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, 1880-1901), Ser. I, Vol. I, 445-46. Hereafter cited as Official Records.

ii Ibid., 355-56.

iii Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 7 vols. (Washington, 1904-1905), I, 47; Samuel W. Crawford, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter (New York, 1887), 261-62.

iv Crawford, Genesis of the Civil War, 263-68; Dunbar Rowland (ed.), Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, 10 vols. (Jackson, Miss., 1923), V, 36-37, 39-40.

v Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States, I, 46, 52, 55, 85-86.

vi This characteristic of Lincoln was attested to by numbers of his associates, sometimes with evident irritation. W. H. Herndon once wrote, "He was the most secretive--reticent--shut-mouthed man that ever lived." Herndon to J. E. Remsburg of Oak Mills, Kansas, September 10, 1887 (privately printed by H. E. Baker, 1917). See also A. K. McClure, Lincoln and Men of War-Times (Philadelphia, 1892), 64-68, for statements of Leonard Swett, W. H. Lamon, A. K. McClure, and David Davis. Judge Davis said, "I knew the man well; he was the most reticent, secretive man I ever saw or expect to see."

vii This note added by Gene Kizer, Jr.: The "border states" Professor Ramsdell refers to in this treatise include Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas since those future-Confederate states were still in the Union as the Fort Sumter drama played out. They did not secede until after the bombardment of Fort Sumter when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South, and they did so, not in any way because of slavery, but because they were horrified that the Federal Government would invade sovereign states and kill their citizens to force them back into a union they had voted to separate from. The Federal Government in 1861 had no constitutional authority or obligation to invade a state and force it to do anything. The Federal Government, as set up by the Founding Fathers, was supposed to be the agent of the states, not their master.

viii Anderson's letter has never been located, but see Official Records, Ser. I, Vol. I, 197-202. For Holt's letter, Horatio King, Turning on the Light (Philadelphia, 1896), 126-128.

ix Secretary Chase favored a relief expedition, but only if it would not bring on an expensive war, a position that was so equivocal that he can hardly be said to stand with Montgomery Blair. John G. Nicolay and John Hay (eds.), Abraham Lincoln: Complete Works, 2 vols. (New York, 1894), II, 11-22, for replies of the cabinet.

x The newspapers carried these reports almost every day and the belief in their accuracy seems to have been general, even among the war faction of the Republicans.

xi Gilbert A. Tracy, Uncollected Letters of Abraham Lincoln (Boston and New York, 1917), 173. Lincoln had written "confidentially" to Major David Hunter on December 22, "If the forts fall, my judgment is that they are to be retaken." A. B. Lapsley (ed.), The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, 8 vols. (New York, 1905-1906), V, 199. It will be remembered that the original draft of the inaugural had contained a declaration that he would "reclaim the public property and places which have fallen," but that this was changed at the suggestion of Orville H. Browning to a more general and less threatening statement. John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln, A History, 10 vols. (New York, 1886-1892), III, 319, 333-34, n. 12.

xii Lincoln to Chase, Welles, and Bates, March 18, 1861, in Nicolay and Hay (eds.), Lincoln: Works, II, 24-25. The Morrill tariff, passed in February, had raised rates far above the former ones while the Confederate Congress had enacted a low tariff. The difference in rates was causing anxiety to Northern importers and shippers, and also to the administration, lest it deflect imports to the South and stimulate smuggling across the new border to the great injury of the Northern ports and the loss of customs receipts. The tariff differential might even swing some of the border states over to the Confederacy. The New York Times was greatly disturbed at the prospect and roundly condemned the Morrill tariff. The issues of the Times for March 13, 15-20, and 22, intimated that the President was considering the above-mentioned plan. The legal impediments seem to have consisted in the absence of any law of Congress permitting such a procedure and the nonexistence of local Federal courts for the adjudication of cases arising out of the enforcement of the revenue laws. This tariff question may have had more influence upon the final determination of Lincoln's policy that the evidence now available shows. [Gene Kizer, Jr. Note: Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Professor Ramsdell.]

xiii These elections were not actually held until April 1 in Ohio and Connecticut and April 3 in Rhode Island, but the pre-election evidences of defection had greatly alarmed the Republicans in the latter part of March. The fusion of the Democrats and other "Union-savers" carried all the larger cities of Ohio, defeated two radical Republican congressmen in Connecticut, re-elected Governor William Sprague in Rhode Island, and won a majority of the legislature in that state. Cincinnati Commercial, April 3, 1861; Columbus (Ohio) Crisis, April 4, 1861; New York Times, March 30, April 2, 4, 1861; J. H. Jordan to S. P. Chase, March 27, J. N. and J. B Antram to Chase, April 2, and W. D. Beckham to Chase, April 2, 1861, in Chase Papers, Library of Congress. I am indebted to Mrs. W. Mary Bryant of the University of Texas for copies of these letters.

xiv There are some indications, however, that at this time Lincoln overestimated the Unionist strength in the border slave states.

xv Lincoln's special message to Congress, July 4, 1861, indicates that he had weighed some of these considerations. "It was believed, however, that to abandon that position [Sumter] under the circumstances would be utterly ruinous; that the necessity under which it was to be done would not be fully understood; that by many it would be construed as a part of a voluntary policy; that at home it would discourage the friends of the Union, embolden its adversaries, and go far to insure to the latter a recognition abroad; that, in fact, it would be our national destruction consummated. This could not be allowed." J. D. Richardson (comp.), Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 10 vols. (Washington, 1896-1899), VI, 21.

xvi It would be most surprising to find that such an idea never occurred to Lincoln, since not only were many Republicans suggesting it as a possibility, but various Republican newspapers were constantly reiterating the suggestion that if any clash came the secessionists would be responsible. The predictions of the newspapers may have been "inspired," but if so, that fact makes it more certain that the idea was being discussed in the inner circles of the administration. J. H. Jordan wrote Chase form Cincinnati, March 27, "In the name of God! why not hold the Fort? Will reinforcing & holding it cause the rebels to attack it, and thus bring on 'civil war'? What of it? That is just what the government ought to wish to bring about, and ought to do all it can . . . to bring about. Let them attack the Fort, if they will--it will then be them that commenced the war." The general idea of such an outcome was in the air; the contribution of Lincoln himself was the maneuver by which this desirable solution was brought about.

xvii Ward H. Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln (Washington, 1911), 68-79.

xviii On April 1 Lincoln sent word, through Seward, to Justice John A. Campbell that Lamon had no authority to make such a promise. Not only that but, according to the same source, he stated that "Lamon did not go to Charleston under any commission or authority from Mr. Lincoln." Henry G. Connor, John Archibald Campbell (Boston and New York, 1920), 127. The words "commission or authority" may have been a mere technical evasion of responsibility, for Lamon himself recounts the conversation between Lincoln, Seward, and himself when Lincoln asked him to go. It is possible, of course, that Justice Campbell misunderstood the exact language or meaning of Seward.

xix Howard K. Beale (ed.), The Diary of Edward Bates, 1859-1866, in American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1930 (Washington, 1933), IV, 180; Nicolay and Lay (eds.), Lincoln: Works, II, 25-28.

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 conclusion.vi

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.

Northern Economic Annihilation: The True Cause of the War Between the States

Northern Economic Annihilation:
The True Cause of the War Between the States

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

The North cut off from Southern cotton, rice, tobacco, and other products would lose three fourths of her commerce, and a very large proportion of her manufactures. And thus those great fountains of finance would sink very low. . . . Would the North in such a condition as that declare war against the South?

Henry L. Benning
Speech before the Georgia legislature
in Milledgeville November 19, 1860

(This post is Chapter Three 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

The cause of the war itself is not complicated -- the South seceded and the North immediately began a dramatic economic collapse.

Northerners quickly discovered that their great wealth and employment depended on the South -- on manufacturing for the South, on financing Southern agriculture, on shipping Southern commodities around the world. Cotton alone made up 60% of U.S. exports in 1860.

This was the era of the Pax Britannica and Great Britain ruled world trade, not the North. The North's biggest customer, by far, was the South.

Economic historian Philip S. Foner wrote extensively on business in the North. In his excellent book, Business & Slavery, The New York Merchants & the Irrepressible Conflict, he explains with crystal clarity why the North quickly decided that war was preferable to economic ruin:

It was also exceedingly logical that when all the efforts to save the Union peacefully had failed, the merchants, regardless of political views, should have endorsed the recourse to an armed policy. They had conducted their long struggle to prevent the dissolution of the Union because they knew that their very existence as businessmen depended upon the outcome. When they finally became aware of the economic chaos secession was causing, when they saw the entire business system crumbling before their very eyes, they knew that there was no choice left. The Union must be preserved. Any other outcome meant economic suicide.1  (Bold emphasis added.)

That was the choice the North was facing. Preserve the Union or face economic disaster which meant the collapse of the entire North into anarchy. Northerners were not concerned about slavery when their economic house was a raging inferno.

The most prominent economist of the antebellum era, Thomas Prentice Kettell, wrote a famous book entitled Southern Wealth and Northern Profits as Exhibited in Statistical Facts and Official Figures: Showing the Necessity of Union to the Future Prosperity and Welfare of the Republic. He argued that Southerners were producing the wealth of the United States with cotton and other commodities but Northerners were taking all the profits. Kettell understood the extensive interaction between the two regions and the North's dependence on the South:

These transactions influence the earnings, more or less direct, of every Northern man. A portion of every artisan's work is paid for by Southern means. Every carman draws pay, more or less, from the trade of that section [the South]. The agents who sell manufactures, the merchants who sell imported goods, the ships that carry them, the builders of the ships, the lumbermen who furnish the material, and all those who supply means of support to them and their families. The brokers, the dealers in Southern produce, the exchange dealers, the bankers, the insurance companies, and all those who are actively employed in receiving then distributing Southern produce, with the long train of persons who furnish them with houses, clothing, supplies, education, religion, amusement, transportation, etc., are dependent upon this active interchange, by which at least one thousand millions of dollars come and go between the North and South in a year.2

There were two components of the North's enormous economic success. The first was simply the luck of having an agricultural region as successful as the South to do for. The South was vast, warm, fertile and productive. Southerners were as ambitious as Northerners and wanted to make money too. They did so with agriculture. It had been this way since Jamestown when colonists found they could make fortunes with tobacco, then later when the cotton gin made short-staple cotton profitable. Per capita income in the South, in the years before the war, was roughly the same as in the North. So, supplying the successful South with goods and services, and shipping for the South, gave Northerners jobs.

The second was the utterly unfair taxation of the South for the direct benefit of the North: 3/4ths of the federal treasury was supplied by the South, yet 3/4ths of federal tax revenue was spent in the North. It was mostly Southerners who had to pay the high tariffs that protected Northern businesses and industry. It was a direct transfer out of the South and into the pockets of Northerners.

In a frank editorial, "What Shall Be Done for a Revenue?" March 12, 1861, one month before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the New York Evening Post writes:

That either the revenue from duties must be collected in the ports of the rebel states, or the ports 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 the public officers; the present order of things must come to a dead stop.3 (Bold emphasis added.)

Think about the American Revolution and the taxation without representation issue. Those taxes were minuscule compared to 1860 when millions of dollars per year were flowing straight out of the South and into the pockets of Northerners.

Those Northerners had not earned a penny of it. It was through government manipulation that they had managed to get monopoly status for most Northern industries and shipping, which killed competition and allowed Northerners to charge high rates. There was a protective tariff, and bounties and subsidies to Northern businesses that were like tax credits and payments from the federal treasury, even though most of the money in the federal treasury -- 3/4ths of it -- had come from the South.

The Report on the Causes of the Secession of Georgia stated it clearly:

The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all.4

The great Southern writer, William Gilmore Simms, knew the North well and concluded the same:

No doubt that, in one sense, they cherish the Union, but only as the agency by which they prosper in uncounted prosperity. It is to them, the very breath of life; it has made them rich and powerful, & keeps them so. No doubt they love the South, but it is as the wolf loves the lamb, coveting and devouring it.5

Southerners woke up one day and realized that they were being robbed blind and from then on, they would have no way to protect themselves. Henceforth in American history, the South would be outvoted by the North and any manner of confiscatory economic manipulation could and would continue. The North had four times the white voting population and the Republican Party had rallied them.

The governance of the entire country would now be by the North, for the North. George Washington had warned against sectional parties but Wendell Phillips proudly stated that the Republican Party was the party of the North pledged against the South.

Alexis de Tocqueville had predicted that if any one state gained enough power to control the government, it would make the rest of the country tributary to its power and would rule for its benefit. That's exactly what happened except it wasn't one state, it was the Northern States with their similar commercial interests.

This section from The Address of the People of South Carolina, Assembled in Convention, to the People of the Slaveholding States of the United States in December, 1860 explains precisely why the Southern States were now in the exact same position toward the North that the Colonies had been toward Great Britain:

The Revolution of 1776 turned upon one great principle, self-government - and self-taxation, the criterion of self-government. Where the interests of two peoples united together under one Government, are different, each must have the power to protect its interests by the organization of the Government, or they cannot be free. The interests of Great Britain and of the Colonies were different and antagonistic. Great Britain was desirous of carrying out the policy of all nations towards their Colonies, of making them tributary to her wealth and power.

The Southern States now stand exactly in the same position towards the Northern States that the Colonies did towards Great Britain. The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. "The General Welfare," is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the legislation this "General Welfare" requires. Thus, the Government of the United States has become a consolidated Government; and the people of the Southern States are compelled to meet the very despotism their fathers threw off in the Revolution of 1776. . . .

For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States, have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue -- to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufacturers.6

The people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes are collected, three-fourths of them are expended at the North. This cause, with others, connected with the operation of the General Government, has made the cities of the South provincial. Their growth is paralyzed; they are mere suburbs of Northern cities. The agricultural productions of the South are the basis of the foreign commerce of the United States; yet Southern cities do not carry it on. . . . No man can, for a moment, believe that our ancestors intended to establish over their posterity, exactly the same sort of Government they had overthrown.7

All of this had started right after the Revolution when Northerners begged for federal protection for their industries to get them going so they could compete with Great Britain. Southerners had gone along with it out of the good feelings from winning the Revolution, and patriotism.

But, like Ronald Reagan said, the closest thing to eternal life is a government program and none of the measures protecting Northern industry ever ended. The North became dependent on them, like a drug addict, and clamored for more and more.

It was nothing but Northern greed for other people's money and it -- not slavery -- was the seed that grew into war. Texas Representative John H. Reagan told Northern representatives in early 1861:

You are not content with the vast millions of tribute we pay you annually under the operation of our revenue law, our navigation laws, your fishing bounties, and by making your people our manufacturers, our merchants, our shippers. You are not satisfied with the vast tribute we pay you to build up your great cities, your railroads, your canals. You are not satisfied with the millions of tribute we have been paying you on account of the balance of exchange which you hold against us. You are not satisfied that we of the South are almost reduced to the condition of overseers for northern capitalists.8

The most quoted phrase from the secession debate in the South in the months leading up to secession 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.

Any government that forces a region to pay 3/4ths of the country's taxes then turns around and spends 3/4ths of the tax money in a different region for the benefit of those who demanded the taxes but pay little themselves -- is a thief and a far worse tyranny than Great Britain in 1776.

The federal government in 1860 did not have the consent of the governed in the South or any "just powers." It had become the enemy of nine million Southerners, just as Great Britain had become the enemy of three million colonists in 1776. There is not one iota of difference in 1776 and 1861.

That's why Northern-biased and politically correct "historians" are so determined to keep the focus on slavery as the cause of the war with the implication that Northerners are the good guys and Southerners the bad, even though slavery as the cause of the American War Between the States is one of the biggest frauds in world history, as noted by Charles Dickens, who was a contemporary.

Northerners don't want to be the British in the second American Revolution but they were. They were far worse.

Georgia Senator Robert Toombs created an apt metaphor -- a suction pump -- to describe the Northern confiscation of Southern money which was made up of

bounties and protection to every interest and every pursuit in the North, to the extent of at least fifty millions per annum, besides the expenditure of at least sixty millions out of every seventy of the public expenditure among them, thus making the treasury a perpetual fertilizing stream to them and their industry, and a suction-pump to drain away our substance and parch up our lands.9

Henry L. Benning, nicknamed "Rock" and for whom the sprawling U.S. Army base, Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia is named,10 calculated the exact amount flowing through Toombs's suction pump:

Eighty-five millions is the amount of the drains from the South to the North in one year, -- drains in return for which the South receives nothing.11

Benning argues that this $85,000,000 -- a gargantuan sum in 1861 -- was not legitimately-earned profit but the extra above normal profit that Southerners had to pay because prices were higher than they should have been. Monopolies protecting Northern businesses and shipping exempted them from market competition therefore they had no incentive to keep costs down. They could charge what they wanted, and, of course, it was going to be as much as they could get.

When a customer needs a product but the government says you can only buy from one supplier -- you have to pay that supplier's price, even though a hundred suppliers might make the exact same product and charge half the price.

Say it's 1860 and you need a widget on your farm that costs $50 from any of several different European companies.

You would have your choice -- but then the federal government steps in and says you can ONLY buy from Monopoly Company of the North and their price is $175.

The $125 difference is what Benning is talking about. It is unearned money sucked out of the South and deposited into the pockets of Northerners simply because the Northern owners of Monopoly Company of the North lobbied the federal government to grant them monopoly status.

The same thing happened with monopoly shipping rates.

The tariff worked similarly too. It allowed Northern businesses to ignore market competition and charge right up to the level of the tariff. The higher a tariff they could get, through political manipulation, the more money that went into their pockets.

Preserving the Union, the North's money machine -- its suction pump, its cash cow -- was critical, not just desirable. As the Northern businessmen concluded: "The Union must be preserved. Any other outcome meant economic suicide,"12 which meant bankruptcy, anarchy, and societal collapse. Lincoln and the Northern Congress understood this completely and agreed wholeheartedly, which is why they said over and over and over: The War Between the States is about preserving the Union, not ending slavery.

Slavery, obviously, is not why the North went to war. In the weeks before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Northerners either bent over backwards to protect slavery or were virtually silent on the slavery issue -- but they were screaming at the threshold of pain about the impending economic catastrophe.

The prescient Benning asked a question which predicted the violent future with 100% accuracy:

The North cut off from Southern cotton, rice, tobacco, and other Southern products would lose three fourths of her commerce, and a very large proportion of her manufactures. And thus those great fountains of finance would sink very low. . . . Would the North in such a condition as that declare war against the South?13

These are the issues that caused the War Between the States. It had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery, especially not with any kindness on the part of the North toward black people, or desire by the North to end slavery. It was all about money, power and the ascendence of one region's economic interests over another's.

Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and so many other wonderful books, who is thought of as a literary colossus and the greatest novelist of the Victorian period, also published a periodical, All the Year Round. He was up on current events and horrified by the American war. He correctly identified it as a tariff war over economic issues and "Slavery has in reality nothing on earth to do with it."14

Dickens said the federal government compelled the South "to pay a heavy fine into the pockets of Northern manufacturers" so that "every feeling and interest on the one side [South] calls for political partition, and every pocket interest on the other side [North] for union."15

Dickens said the North "having gradually got to itself the making of the laws and the settlement of the Tariffs . . . taxed the South most abominably for its own advantage . . . ."16

He noted the hypocrisy of the North and its bad treatment of black people, and the South's right to secede:

Every reasonable creature may know, if willing, that the North hates the Negro, and that until it was convenient to make a pretence that sympathy with him was the cause of the War, it hated the abolitionists and derided them up hill and down dale. For the rest, there is not a pin to choose between the two parties. They will both rant and lie and fight until they come to a compromise; and the slave may be thrown into that compromise or thrown out of it, just as it happens. As to Secession being Rebellion, it is distinctly provable by State Papers that Washington considered it no such thing -- that Massachusetts, now loudest against it, has itself asserted its right to secede, again and again -- and that years ago when the two Carolinas began to train their militia expressly for Secession, commissioners were sent to treat with them and to represent the disastrous policy of such secession, who never dreamed of hinting that it would be rebellion.17

Dickens was adamant that "the quarrel between North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel" because "Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many many other evils."18

Of course, it is the Northern love of other people's money that is the root of all evil Dickens is talking about. Southerners were simply trying to keep their money from being confiscated by the government and given to Northerners -- just as the Colonists were trying to keep their money from being confiscated by King George III and distributed throughout the British Empire. Every man and woman can understand that. Nobody wants their hard-earned money confiscated by the government and given to somebody else.

Dickens's famous biographer, Peter Ackroyd, used Scrooge's favorite word to describe the Northern lie later in the war that slavery was suddenly their reason for fighting even though the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves (or few), deliberately left close to a half-million in slavery in the five Union slave states, and left hundreds of thousands in slavery in captured Confederate territory. Ackroyd writes:

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.19

 


1 Philip S. Foner, Business & Slavery, The New York Merchants & the Irrepressible Conflict (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1941), 322.

2 Thomas Prentice Kettell, Southern Wealth and Northern Profits as Exhibited in Statistical Facts and Official Figures: Showing the Necessity of Union to the Future Prosperity and Welfare of the Republic (New York: Geo. W. & John A. Wood, 1860; reprint: University: University of Alabama Press, 1965), 75.

3 New York Evening Post, March 12, 1861, "What Shall Be Done for a Revenue?", in Howard Cecil Perkins, ed., Northern Editorials on Secession, Vol II (Gloucester: Peter Smith, 1964), 598.

4 Report on the Causes of the Secession of Georgia, adopted by the Georgia Secession Convention, Tuesday, January 29, 1861, in the Journal of the Georgia Convention, in The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900; reprint, Historical Times, Inc., 1985), Series IV, Volume 1, 81-85.

5 William Gilmore Simms, "Antagonisms of the Social Moral. North and South.", unpublished 1857 lecture housed in the Charles Carroll Simms Collection of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 38-42; hereinafter cited as "Antagonisms." Simms (1806-1870) had a brilliant literary career. There is a bust of him in White Point Gardens at the Battery in Charleston. Edgar Allan Poe said Simms was the greatest American writer of the 19th century. Simms wrote 82 book-length works in his career, 20 of which are very important in American history and literature. Simms understood the mind of the North. His books had been published in the North. He knew the national publishing industry inside and out and had many friends and associates in the North.

6 "Duties on imports for revenue" and "a tariff for revenue" mean the same thing. They both refer to a small import tariff whose sole purpose is to generate the small amount of revenue needed to run the government. The paragraph above, to which this footnote belongs, points out the difference between a small tariff for revenue, which the South always wanted because they craved free trade, verses a high protective tariff designed to protect Northern industry from competition. A tariff is a penalty, it's punitive, thus a high protective tariff worked by making certain imported goods so expensive Southerners could not afford them and would have to buy from the North. To make matters more unfair, a tariff allowed Northerners to ignore market competition and simply charge what they wanted, up to the level of the tariff. A product which cost $100 on the free market might cost Southerners $400 by the time they paid the protective tariff or the jacked-up Northern price. This is exactly what is meant by "to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests." Protective tariffs promoted Northern goods by putting cost prohibitions on any other goods. An additional outrage occurred if a Southerner decided to go ahead and buy an imported item and pay the tariff because 3/4ths of the money the Southerner had to pay would go straight into the pockets of Northerners. It is not hard to see the unfairness of this system nor why Southerners wanted free trade with the rest of the world. Southerners were in a far worse position verses the North than the Colonists had been with Great Britain in 1776. (Bold emphasis added.)

7 The Address of the People of South Carolina, Assembled in Convention, to the People of the Slaveholding States of the United States, in John Amasa May and Joan Reynolds Faunt, South Carolina Secedes (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1960), 82-92.

8 John H. Reagan, "Speech of Representative John H. Reagan of Texas, January 15, 1861," in Congressional Globe, 36 Congress, 2 Session, I, 391, as cited in abridged version of Kenneth M. Stampp, ed., The Causes of the Civil War, 3rd revised edition (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1991), 89. Reagan served as Confederate Postmaster General and in Jefferson Davis's cabinet as one of Davis's most trusted advisors.

9 Robert Toombs, "Secessionist Speech, Tuesday Evening, November 13" delivered to the Georgia legislature in Milledgeville, November 13, 1860, in William W. Freehling, and Craig M. Simpson, Secession Debated, Georgia's Showdown in 1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 38.

10 Benning was a justice on the Georgia Supreme Court at the beginning of the war. He became one of Gen. Robert E. Lee's most able brigadier generals in the Army of Northern Virginia.

11 Henry L. Benning, "Henry L. Benning's Secessionist Speech, Monday Evening, November 19," delivered in Milledgeville, Georgia, November 19, 1860, in Freehling and Simpson, Secession Debated, Georgia's Showdown in 1860, 132.

12 Foner, Business & Slavery, 322.

13 Benning, "Henry L. Benning's Secessionist Speech, Monday Evening, November 19" in Freehling and Simpson, Secession Debated, Georgia's Showdown in 1860, 132.

14 The short quotations from Charles Dickens come from articles that are all quoted in Charles Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, Arguing the Case for Southern Secession (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000), 90-91: Charles Dickens, "The Morrill Tariff," All the Year Round, 28 December 1861, 328-330; "The American Tariff Bill," Saturday Review, 9 March 1861, 234-235; Dickens, "American Disunion," 411.

15 See Note 14.

16 See Note 14.

17 Charles Dickens, letter to W. W. De Cerjat, 16 March 1862, in Graham Storey, ed., The Letters of Charles Dickens (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), Vol. Ten, 1862-1864, 53-54.

18 See Note 14.

19 Peter Ackroyd, Dickens (London, 1990), 271, as quoted in Adams, When in the Course of Human Events, 89.

The North Did Not Go to War to End Slavery

The North Did Not Go to War to End Slavery

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

If they had, they would have started by passing a constitution amendment abolishing slavery. They did the opposite. They overwhelmingly passed the Corwin Amendment, which left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. This alone proves, unequivocally, that the North did not go to war to end slavery or free the slaves.

(This post is Chapter Two 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

The North does not get to redefine, in the middle of the war, its reason for going to war. What the North proclaimed in the beginning, stands, as its reason for going to war -- and it is unchangeable. War measures halfway through the war, such as the Emancipation Proclamation that freed no slaves (and prevented close to a million slaves from achieving their freedom), have nothing to do with why the North went to war in the first place.

A near-unanimous resolution entitled the War Aims Resolution established early-on what the North was fighting for. It was passed by the Northern Congress in July, 1861, three months after the bombardment of Fort Sumter:

. . . That this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor for the purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or institutions [slavery] of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution [which allowed and protected slavery], and to preserve the Union. . . .1

Throughout the antebellum years as the country achieved its Manifest Destiny marching westward, winning the Mexican War, growing in wealth and power, no credible Northern leader said they should march armies into the South to end slavery.2

Throughout the first two years of the war, almost nobody in the North said they were fighting to end slavery. To do so would risk racist Union soldiers deserting because they signed up to fight for the Union, not to free slaves whom they feared would move north and inundate their towns and cities and be job competition. Julia Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses S. Grant, might have freed her four slaves if she had thought it was an abolition war and not a war for the Union.3

Most Northerners, excluding a few truly good-hearted abolitionists, accepted slavery. As stated earlier, historians Lee Benson and Gavin Wright maintain that the percentage of abolitionists in the North was "probably no more than 2 per cent, almost certainly no more than 5 per cent, of the Northern electorate,"4 and, ironically, many of them didn't like slavery because they didn't like blacks and did not want to associate with them. Prominent abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy had been murdered by an outraged Northern mob in Lincoln's own Illinois in 1837. The mob was trying to destroy Lovejoy's abolitionist materials and his press.

By 1861, Northerners had been supporting slavery for 241 years and would continue supporting it throughout the War Between the States since five slave states, as noted earlier, fought for the North. Again, those states are Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia, which came into the Union during the war as a slave state.5

If the North was fighting to end slavery, it would never permit slave states to fight for the Union -- or, it would have ended slavery in the Union slave states immediately.

It did the opposite and made sure by constitutional amendment and proclamation that slavery in the Union was protected, just as it was, and had always been, by the Constitution.

That's how the North really felt about slavery and freeing the slaves.

Lincoln himself took it a step further. He supported the first Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- the Corwin Amendment -- which would have left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. It passed March 2, 1861, two days before Lincoln's first inaugural. It reads:

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 [slavery], including that of persons held to labor [slaves] or service by the laws of said State.6

About the Corwin Amendment, Lincoln said, in his first inaugural on March 4, 1861:

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution — which amendment, however, I have not seen — has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

(Bold emphasis added.)

Before Lincoln took office, President James Buchanan actually signed the Corwin Amendment after it had been approved by Congress and was ready to be sent to the states for ratification. Buchanan's act was symbolic only.

It is important to note that the Corwin Amendment had required a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and it had passed with mostly Northern votes because seven Southern states were out of the Union by then and did not vote. Indeed, the bill's sponsor, Representative Thomas Corwin, was from Ohio.

Three Northern states ratified the Corwin Amendment -- Ohio, Maryland and Illinois -- before the war made it moot.

After the Corwin Amendment's passage, Lincoln sent a letter with a copy of the Corwin Amendment to each state's governor pointing out that Buchanan had signed it. Lincoln was making sure everyone knew of his strong support of slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress.

Before even mentioning the Corwin Amendment in his first inaugural, Lincoln made it clear that he strongly supported slavery and had "no inclination" to end it:

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 under 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.

(Bold emphasis added.)

On August 22, 1862, sixteen months into the war, Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, in response to a letter Greeley had sent him, and reiterated:

. . . 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--What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help the Union. 7 (Bold emphasis, which is italics in the original text, is Lincoln's.)

Exactly one month -- September 22, 1862 -- after writing his letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the very first paragraph states clearly that the war is being fought to restore the Union and not to free the slaves:

I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States, and each of the States, and the people thereof, in which States that relation is, or may be, suspended or disturbed.
(Bold emphasis added.)

Clearly, the North did not instigate a war to end slavery.

The focus on slavery as the primary cause of the War Between the States -- even indirectly -- is a fraud of biblical proportions and it prevents real understanding of American history.

Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Lincoln scholar, David H. Donald, back in the 1960s, was concerned about the overemphasis of slavery as the cause of the war. He said the Civil Rights Movement seems to have been the reason for stressing slavery as the cause of the war.

I have already proven that the North did not go to war to end slavery. There is much more evidence but the following is a good summary of the things in the beginning that show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the North did not go to war to free the slaves or because of slavery:

1) The North's War Aims Resolution, which states clearly that they are fighting to preserve the Union and not "for the purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or institutions [slavery] of the States."

2) Lincoln's constant promises in high profile forums such as his first inaugural address, to protect slavery where it existed.

3) The United States Congress's overwhelming passage of the Corwin Amendment, which would have left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. If the North was fighting to end slavery, it would have passed a constitutional amendment ending slavery, and not one that guaranteed that black people would be in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. Three Northern states ratified the Corwin Amendment including Lincoln's own Illinois before the war made it moot. This alone proves, unequivocally, that the North did not go to war to free the slaves or to end slavery. (Bold emphasis added.)

4) Lincoln's strong support for the Corwin Amendment as stated in his first inaugural and in personal letters to the governors.

5) The North's historical support for slavery and slave-trading.

6) The fact that, when Lincoln sent his hostile military mission to Charleston to start the war, just prior to the bombardment of Fort Sumter, there were more slave states in the Union than in the Confederacy.8

7) Northern leaders -- no credible Northern leader throughout the antebellum period said they ought to march armies into the South to free the slaves. Indeed, abolitionists were hated in the North. Elijah Lovejoy was murdered in Lincoln's Illinois.

8) Northerner leaders -- almost none of whom for the first two years of the war said that they were fighting to free the slaves. Ulysses S. Grant's wife, Julia, owned four slaves. It would be hard for Grant to say he had gone to war to end slavery when his own house was a slaveholding household.

9) The five slave states that fought for the North throughout the war: Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

10) The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued September 22, 1862, that states clearly in the very first paragraph that "hereafter, as theretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation" between the U.S. and seceded states i.e., the Union. There is no mention of slavery. (Bold emphasis added.)

11) The Emancipation Proclamation that freed no slaves (or few) and deliberately left at least 832,259, who were under Northern control, in slavery. Most of those black people officially stayed slaves until well after the end of the war. They could have been freed easily if the North had wanted to free them.9

The Emancipation Proclamation states, literally, that it is a war measure, and it was not issued early on.

It was not issued before Lincoln took office, or after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, or during Lincoln's first inaugural. It was issued two years into the war -- and it freed no slaves (or few).

The conditions around the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and its timetable establish the fact that the North most certainly did not go to war on April 12, 1861 to end slavery or free the slaves.

The North's support for slavery goes back to the beginning of the country when Northern (and British) slave traders brought most of the slaves here and made huge fortunes in the process. Dr. Edgar J. McManus in his excellent book, Black Bondage in the North, writes that "Boston merchants entered the African trade as early as 1644, and by 1676 they were bringing back cargoes from as far away as East Africa and Madagascar."10 McManus writes:

[The slave trade] quickly became one of the cornerstones of New England's commercial prosperity . . . which yielded enormous commercial profits.11

Virtually the entire infrastructure of the Old North was built on profits from the slave trade and slave traders such as Boston's Peter Faneuil of Faneuil Hall, the ironically named "Cradle of Liberty," which might have been a cradle for him but sure wasn't for the tens of thousands of black Africans he was responsible for snatching from their families and forcing into the horrors of the Middle Passage.

McManus explains the importance of the slave trade to the New England economy:

[The slave trade] stimulated the growth of other industries. Shipbuilding, the distilleries, the molasses trade, agricultural exports to the West Indies, and the large numbers of artisans, sailors, and farmers were all dependent upon the traffic in Negroes. It became the hub of New England's economy.12

See also the excellent 2005 book Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant.13

Let's go beyond the North's guilt for enthusiastic, widespread slave trading and look at the whole picture.

The North could not have gotten cargoes of slaves without tremendous help from blacks themselves. Black African tribal chieftains had captives from tribal warfare rounded up and waiting in places like Bunce Island off modern Sierra Leone to be picked up by slave traders from all over the world. The constant unrest in Africa today with genocides, kidnappings, never-ending warfare, people hacked to death, makes it easy to understand. Black tribal chieftains were worse then because there was no media attention on them. They made slavery easy. White people did not even have to get off the ship and usually didn't. Slavery could never have happened without those blacks in Africa who were all too willing to sell other blacks into slavery for profit.14

Slavery has always existed including today. Indians enslaved other Indians. The Romans would conquer a place and kill all the men and take all the women and children into slavery. Most cultures, worldwide, had slavery at one time or another. American slavery is not the first. Only 5% of slaves in the exodus from Africa, called the African Diaspora, ended up in the United States. Many ended up in Brazil and other places in South America and the Caribbean.

Slavery is a blight on humanity but a fact of human history and we should understand the truth of it and not the politically correct lie that blames only the South. All Americans, but especially African-Americans, deserve to know the entire truth about slavery and not some white-washed version. "Truth" is why Lerone Bennett wrote Forced into Glory, to reveal that racist Abraham Lincoln deliberately did not free any slaves (or freed very few) with the Emancipation Proclamation, and, most of Lincoln's life (Lerone Bennett says all of his life) supported sending African-Americans back to Africa or into a climate suitable to them. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation confirms this long-held belief of Lincoln's 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."

There would have been no American slavery without black tribal chieftains in Africa, and British and Yankee slave traders.

The reason the South gets all the blame is because of a half-century of political correctness15 in which only one side of the story has been told16 because, if you tell the Southern side, even in a scholarly manner, you open yourself up to charges of being a racist and member of the KKK who wishes we still had slavery.
Esteemed historian, Eugene D. Genovese, writes:

To speak positively about any part of this Southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip young white Southerners, and arguably black Southerners as well, of their heritage, and therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame.17  (Bold emphasis added.)

NAACP resolutions passed in 1987 and 1991 spewing hatred on the Confederate battle flag also intimidate scholars who would rather not weigh in or who will take the anti-South side without a fair examination of the issues. Professors know that they stand almost no chance of getting tenure if they say anything good about the South in the War Between the States. They know that we live in a shallow and superficial time and just an accusatory whiff in the air that someone is a racist, whether they are or not, will end a college history career or prevent one from getting started.18

But, remember the old proverb: "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him"19

The War Between the States is the central event in American history. It should be examined thoroughly just as Lerone Bennett has examined Abraham Lincoln and given us a fresh perspective on old Honest Abe the racist who used the "n" word more than the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the same Abe Lincoln who wanted to ship black people back to Africa and who deliberately freed no slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation when he could have freed close to a million under Union control. There is a lot to know and think about in order to understand what really happened.


1 The War Aims Resolution is also known by the names of its sponsors, Representative John J. Crittenden of Kentucky and Senator Andrew Johnson of Tennessee: the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, or just the Crittenden Resolution. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives July 22, 1861, and the Senate July 25, 1861. There were only two dissenting votes in the House and five in the Senate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crittenden-Johnson_Resolution, accessed March 29, 2014.

2 Indeed, there is much evidence that illegal slave trading was still being conducted by many Northern ship captains right up to the beginning of the war, though slave trading had officially been outlawed since 1808.

3 There is a well-known story about Ulysses S. Grant wherein Grant states that he is fighting to preserve the Union and if anybody accuses him of fighting to free the slaves, he will promptly go join the Confederacy and fight on their side. There may be some truth to it, and maybe not. Grant did own one slave whom he freed in 1859, but his wife, Julia, owned four throughout much of the war, therefore Grant's household was a slaveholding household. Grant's supposed quotation was published in 1868 in the Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book, which was a Democratic Party campaign document in the 1868 campaign when Grant was running for president as a Republican. However, in 1861, Grant was a Democrat, and, as stated, living in a slaveholding household. The Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book on page 33 states that Grant was the Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois, stationed near Mexico in 1861, and that Grant's quotation was provided by the editor of the Randolph Citizen, a Missouri newspaper. It starts: "In a public conversation in Ringo's banking-house, a sterling Union man put this question to him [Grant]: 'What do you honestly think was the real object of this war on the part of the Federal Government?'"

'Sir, said Grant, 'I have no doubt in the world that the sole object is the restoration of the Union. I will say further, though, that I am a Democrat--every man in my regiment is a Democrat--and whenever I shall be convinced that this war has for its object anything else than what I have mentioned, or that the Government designed using its soldiers to execute the purposes of the abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier that I will carry my sword to the other side, and cast my lot with that people.'

Source: Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book: Containing every thing necessary for the defense of the national democracy in the coming presidential campaign, and for the assault of the radical enemies of the country and its constitution, compiled by Matthew Carey, Jr. Cincinnati: Miami Printing and Publishing Company, 1868.

4 Benson, "Explanations of American Civil War Causation" in Wright, The Political Economy of the Cotton South, 136. David M. Potter also points out that Northern antislavery had a strong anti-black bias and was not designed to help black people but to get rid of them. See David M. Potter, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861, completed and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1976), 35-36.

5 The District of Columbia, which included the Northern capital, Washington, permitted slavery for the first year of the war. Slavery was abolished in DC with compensation to slaveowners in 1862, but it continued in the five Union slave states throughout the war and a while afterward.

6 Corwin Amendment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corwin_Amendment. Accessed March 26, 2014.

7Letter, A. Lincoln to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953) V:388.

8 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 first to secede and form the Confederate States of America are South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

9 The argument that Lincoln had to word the Emancipation Proclamation to protect slavery in the Union slaves states because he did not have the constitutional authority to end slavery in the those states has some merit and makes my point -- that Northerners did not go to war to end slavery. If they had, they would have started by passing a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. As stated above, they did the opposite and overwhelmingly passed the Corwin Amendment, which would have left black people in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress. It was ratified by three Northern states before the war made it moot. ALSO, if one buys the argument that Lincoln didn't have the constitutional authority to end slavery in the Union slaves states, then how did he get the authority to end slavery in the Southern slave states, which, according to Lincoln, were still part of the Union? As Lincoln stated, the Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure and its authority came from Lincoln's power as commander-in-chief. It was not designed to help black people but designed to help Union armies win the war by encouraging slaves in the South to rise up and kill women and children in the South, which would cause men in the Confederate Army to want to go home to protect their families. Of course, this didn't happen because the slaves were loyal to the South for the most part throughout the war. The EP would, however, cause slaves, in the excitement of impending battle, to run off as the Union Army invaded further into the South. This would be advantageous to the North. Two other HUGE reasons the EP was issued: To get the North favorable press in Europe, and to help stymie official recognition of the Confederacy, which would almost certainly bring military assistance. But, getting back to the constitutional argument, the North allowed slave states to be part of the Union, and the South allowed free states to be part of the Confederacy. The South anticipated that several free states with economic ties to the South would join the CSA and this bothered Lincoln greatly. In keeping with its States' Rights philosophy, slavery in the CSA was up to an individual state.
(Bold emphasis added.)

10 Edgar J. McManus, Black Bondage in the North (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1973), 9-10.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank, Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery (New York: Ballantine Books, 2005).

14 See James Walvin, Slavery and the Slave Trade, A Short Illustrated History (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1983) and numerous other books on the slave trade.

15 Political correctness -- to be correct "politically" -- is the opposite of being correct in a scholarly manner. Scholarship seeks truth. Politics does not. Politics seeks to persuade or intimidate so power can be won. Sometimes truth is used. Oftentimes lies are used such as President Obama's "If you like you healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan. Period." which was labeled by Politifact the Lie of the Year for 2013.

16 Joe Gray Taylor, in attempting to examine the causes of the war 25 years ago, notes that David H. Donald "seems to have been correct when he said in 1960 that the causation of the Civil War was dead as a serious subject of historical analysis" and that "A 'Southern' point of view on the secession crisis no longer exists among professional historians." These quotations come from Joe Gray Taylor, "The White South from Secession to Redemption," in John B. Boles and Evelyn Thomas Nolen, Interpreting Southern History, Historiographical Essays in Honor of Sanford W. Higginbotham (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987), 162-164. (Bold emphasis added.)

17 Eugene D. Genovese, The Southern Tradition, The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1994), xi-xii. Dr. Genovese passed away September 26, 2012.

18 The 1987 NAACP anti-Confederate-battle-flag resolution was passed at their Southeast Region Convention in March of that year and can be found in Don Hinkle, Embattled Banner, A Reasonable Defense of the Confederate Battle Flag (Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company, 1997), 23-25. The 1991 resolution can be found in NAACP convention minutes from that year, as cited in Hinkle, Embattled Banner, 157-186.

19 English Standard Version of the Bible, Proverbs 18:17.

A Confederate Short Story You Will LOVE! by Gene Kizer, Jr.

Gen Lee pict for A More Perfect Fifty-dollar Bill
A More Perfect Fifty-dollar Bill

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

 

“If I thought this war was to abolish slavery,
I would resign my commission and offer my sword
to the other side.” *

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

 

The campaign was dismissed, at first, as "those Charleston Crazies, at it again," but it grew legs and took off and now was the talk of the country. It appeared Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's days on the fifty-dollar bill were, indeed, numbered.

It was Saturday, April 9th, 2033 and Marion Square in downtown Charleston, South Carolina was jam packed with TV cameras and reporters as the debate was about to begin. A huge stage was set up on the north side of Marion Square close to Embassy Suites. A huge TV screen was set up on the south side at the back of John C. Calhoun’s statue.

The Cooper River Bridge Run, with 85,000 runners, now the largest 10K in the world across the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, had ended on Marion Square the weekend before. The place had been swarming with people, but this crowd was twice, maybe three times as large, and was getting loud and boisterous.

"May I have your attention please," blared out a deep male voice that sounded like Trace Adkins. "Welcome to democracy and freedom of speech in ACTION!"

At that, the crowd erupted and everybody cheered loudly interspersed with shrill whistling and Rebel Yells.

"I'm John G. Gailliard of the Political Science Department of Charleston College, your moderator, and we are sponsoring this nationally broadcast event!"

There was another round of hooting, hollering, whistling and clapping as Fox News, C-SPAN and others panned the crowd.

"As most of you know, negotiators for the three parties debating today have hammered out the rules, and the Congressional Delegations of every Southern state have agreed to introduce legislation in Congress supporting the position of the winner of this debate . . ." he paused then yelled right into the microphone, "and it's WINNER TAKE ALL!"

The crowd erupted again!

Earlier, the Post and Courier had published an entire section on the debate spelling out the positions of each of the three sides.

First, there was the genealogical group that had started the whole thing, the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South, who were descended from Confederate soldiers. They were demanding that Ulysses S. Grant's picture be removed from the fifty-dollar bill and replaced with Gen. Robert E. Lee's since Grant's house was slaveholding throughout the War Between the States, and Lee's was not. Lee did not believe in slavery, unlike Grant, who just about had to have his slaves forcibly removed after the war.

At first, the public was skeptical about claims that the greatest Confederate general was not a slaveowner during the war, while the Yankee general, supposedly fighting to free the slaves, had sworn he'd join the Confederacy before he'd let his slaves go. Were there slaves in Ulysses S. Grant's house during the War Between the States? It just didn't make sense to a lot of people, especially those who rely on public education and CNN for their information.

The second position was taken by Yankees who have felt so good about themselves for supposedly ending slavery that they were willing to overlook the fact that Grant's house definitely had slaves in it, that Sherman had no problem with slavery, that five slave states fought for the North throughout the war, and that Lincoln himself, before the fighting, supported the Corwin Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have protected slavery forever and placed it even beyond the reach of Congress.

This second group called itself, Brothers United to Limit Lee, or B.U.L.L. They were feeling so God-awful good, they never even thought about the million people who died in the War Between the States out of a total population of 33 million. They did not care that old Honest Abe Lincoln was so racist he'd make the Grand Wizard of Ku Klux Klan blush, nor did they care that Lincoln, his whole life, favored sending blacks back to Africa. This second group just didn’t care about any of this stuff because they won and could walk around feeling good about themselves, which they had been doing for 168 years.

The third position, put forth by Scholars for Justice, had come about in sort of a logical way. These folks reasoned that Grant was not the only slave master on American money. Washington, Jefferson, all of them had been white men who owned slaves, so what we really needed to do was put a black man who owned slaves on the fifty-dollar bill. That would make things fair. Then we wouldn't have to disturb any of the other slaveowning presidents on our money, which would happen if we put the non-slaveowning Robert E. Lee on the fifty-dollar bill. With a black slaveowning man on American money, everybody would be represented except Hispanics, but they were not significant players in the War Between the States, and the Indians were all Confederates, thus they’d be covered by Gen. Lee.

William Ellison, the famous cotton gin maker from Sumter County, immediately came up because he was one of the largest slaveowners in South Carolina, and he was black. The Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South supported this position on a secondary basis because it only seemed fair. BULL was flat-out against it.

The concept that blacks willingly fought for the Confederacy  -- because to Southern blacks, the South was home -- is another concept that people who rely on public education and CNN have a hard time believing, though these same people will sometimes believe that blacks fought in the American Revolution for America, and back then every American colony was slaveholding. The reason they believe blacks fought in the Revolution for America is because they know stories like Crispus Attucks, a black man and great American patriot, who was the first man killed by the British in the Boston Massacre in 1770, God rest his soul.

The night before, a fight had broken out in the courtyard of the Blind Tiger on Broad Street between one of the Sons and Daughters, and a member of BULL. There was a table full of members of the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South drinking and talking and having a good time in their gray Confederate coats, next to a table full of BULL drinking and talking and having a good time in their blue Yankee coats, next to a table full of Scholars for Justice drinking and talking and having a good time in their stylish black coats that looked sort of like tuxedo coats but had brown elbow pads on the sleeves.

Things started out with civility and fun, but the War Between the States was only 172 years ago, and that might as well have been yesterday, so it’s understandable that emotions are always high.

“Why would you people glorify the side that wanted to destroy America?” said a member of BULL in jest, his chest poking out proudly.

“We don’t. We just wanted to be left alone to govern ourselves, like the Colonies in 1776 wanted Great Britain to leave them alone so they could govern themselves,” said a Confederate Son.

“That’s hardly the same thing,” said the BULL member.

“Oh yea, your Horace Greeley said it was exactly the same thing. If it was OK in 1776 for three million colonists to secede from Great Britain, it was certainly OK in 1861 for nine million Southrons to secede from the federal Union. That’s what your Greeley himself wrote in his New York Tribune before the war.”

“But that was treason. They had no right,” said the member of BULL.

“Au contraire, they most certainly had the right. The right of secession was never questioned by the Founding Fathers. In the beginning, even Yankees didn’t question it. You ever hear of the Hartford Convention of New England?”

“Yea, but they didn’t actually secede.”

“True, but they sure as hell wanted to. They voted to secede and sent a delegate to Washington to announce that they had seceded, but the War of 1812 ended before he got there.”

The member of BULL had picked the wrong Son to argue with, but he grabbed his mug of beer and continued on. “Don’t you think we are a great nation today? Why would you people want to destroy that?”

“We would have been two great nations, even greater. A million people didn’t have to die to prove it. We would have been friends, North and South, and all fought Hitler together and traded together and things would have been fine.”

“Including your black slaves, huh.”

“Well, you Yankees brought them all here and made huge fortunes in the process. You built the entire infrastructure of the Old North on profits from the slave trade.”

“Yea, but if there had not been a market for slaves in the South, we never would have done that.”

“True, but there were slaves in the North until massive white immigration from Europe made it cheaper to hire a white man than buy a black. Only then did Northern states phase out slavery.”

“At least we did phase it out.”

“Let me ask you this. Every Northern state used gradual, compensated emancipation. There were still slaves in the North when the war started. Many Northerners waited until just before a slave was due to be emancipated, like just before his 21st birthday, then sold him back into slavery in the South. Not a pretty record.”

“I don’t know if I believe all that.”

“It’s absolutely true, but here’s my question. If the North really wanted to end Southern slavery, why didn’t you suggest doing it in the South the same way you had done it in the North, with gradual, compensated emancipation?”

Another member of the Sons and Daughters blurted out, “Because damn Yankees were not going to spend their hard-earned sweat shop money to free blacks in the South. They could care less.”

Another Son added, “That’s right, because freed blacks going North were job competition for the Northern working man and unemployment was already so bad, there was near anarchy in many Northern cities. Ever hear of ‘Blood or Bread!’” He was referring to bad riots in Northern cities in the Panic of 1857. Of course, the South had been stable.

“I still say secession was treason,” said another BULL member.

“The first forty years of America’s existence, nobody questioned the right of secession. Do you think the colonists who fought a bloody war to be independent from the British would immediately lock themselves into another government they couldn’t get out of? Are you crazy?”

The BULL members were getting agitated. Everybody in the courtyard was tuned in with great interest because this was an excellent bar room debate that had gotten loud.”

“Oh hell, let’s have another round of beers and cool down.”

“Good idea.”

More beers were brought but soon two women were into it.

“The Southern aristocracy or slaveocracy,” said a dark-haired female BULL with a sneer, “caused the war. They weren’t gonna give up their black mistresses without a fight.”

A very pretty blonde Daughter who looked like Shannon Bream, said, “Southerners debated the issue of secession for months. Every single Southern state called a convention, elected delegates, debated the issue then voted to secede.”

“So what,” said the dark-haired BULL girl.

“The convention votes were then ratified by a popular vote of the people in every single Southern state, just like happened with the Constitution. It was pure democracy in action.”

“I can’t believe the backward South knew to do all that,” replied the female BULL.

“The ‘backward South’ supplied almost every Founding Father. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Randolph, Mason, Henry, all of them Southerners. In 1861, Southrons believed they were heirs to the Founding Fathers. It was Yankees that had changed from the original republic.”

“Yankee progress,” said the female BULL.

“Yankee anarchy,” replied the blonde Daughter. “Massive immigration from Europe kept the North wild and needing an outlet for its extra people, which is why so many went west. Like Horace Greeley said, ‘Go west, young man, and grow up with the country!’”

The blonde Daughter took a sip of her beer then quickly added, “The South was producing most of the wealth of the nation. Yankees were stealing it with tariffs and monopolies. Like Robert Toombs said, the federal government was a ‘suction pump’ sucking wealth out of the South and depositing it in the North. Hell, the North couldn’t even feed itself.”

“Bullshit. We had great cities, all the banks, money and most of the shipping in the country.”

“That’s true, all of it earned by selling Northern goods to the South. The South was nothing but a big captive market for Northern factories. Without the South, Northern factories stood idle, and the North was nothing.”

Another Son added, “Northerners were benefiting from slavery as much as Southerners.”

One of the BULL members smirked and said, “By seceding, you were threatening our economy, the stability of our nation. We had every right to fight.”

“Fair enough,” said the Son, “so don’t go around saying the war was fought to free the slaves. That’s a pile of you-know-what. White Yankees could care less about black slaves, and damn sure didn’t want them in the North.”

There was a pause. Both sides were disgusted and on edge. The Scholars for Justice found the whole thing fascinating, as if they were at a college lecture, and everybody else in the courtyard was all ears.

“Youse guys started the war. We finished it,” said a raspy-voiced member of BULL.

“Lincoln started the war by lying to Confederates in Charleston Harbor in April, 1861. He swore he would not send troops to Fort Sumter. He lied. He knew he was starting the war. Lincoln the liar.”

“Lincoln had every right to reinforce a federal garrison under siege,” said a BULL member.

“The Charlestonians were feeding the Yankees in Fort Sumter. The fort was in sovereign South Carolina waters occupied by a hostile foreign power threatening one of our most important cities. We had every right to demand that it be evacuated.”

Another Daughter added, “Hell, we had representatives in Washington at that very time trying to pay Lincoln for all federal property in the South. He kept promising to move the troops out, but he couldn’t.”

“And just why couldn’t he,” said the dark haired female BULL member.

“Because when the first seven Southern states seceded and formed the Confederacy, the economy of the North collapsed and was in complete anarchy. Factories were closed. Ships were idle or moving South to Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. Goods were rotting on Northern docks. Property values had gone down to nothing. Mobs were in the streets. Lincoln was starting to be hated by his own party. War solved all of his problems. Gave him ‘a magnificent burst of patriotism,’ I think, is the way one Yankee put it.”

A BULL member said, “You Southerners. You don’t get your way so you quit. You’re like a bunch of big frigg’in babies.”

“Yeah, babies tired of being robbed by Northern thieves. Southerners were paying seventy-five percent of the taxes through high tariffs and monopolies that protected Northern industry, but seventy-five percent of the tax money was being spent in the North. You damn right we were tired of all that!”

Another Son added, “Seventy-five percent was a hell of a lot more money than the British were robbing from the Colonies in 1776.”

“Good Lord. If it wasn’t for us, you’d still have slaves, wouldn’t you.”

“Always back to the slavery issue which y’all admitted was bull a few minutes ago. Yankee bull.”

“I’ve had enough of this,” said the most vocal BULL member who got up and when he did, spilled a beer on one of the Daughters. He looked at her then, without apologizing, started to walk off. A son jumped up and grabbed him and said, “Hey, you owe the lady an apology.”

The BULL member jerked his arm away and put his finger in the Son’s chest, so the Son decked him, causing both tables to empty like a baseball game brawl.

The bartender, Sean, blew a foghorn, and that deafening sound in the small courtyard backed everybody off for a moment. “We’re not puttin' up with this crap! Y’all are gonna have to leave!”

“Damn,” said one of the Scholars for Justice. “Just as it was getting good.”

Another Scholar for Justice said, “What if we moderate the discussion and keep it from elevating into fisticuffs. Could we stay then? Please?”

Both sides seemed to want to go along with that. Nobody wants to leave the courtyard of a good Charleston bar on a starry night in April.

Sean looked undecided for a second, but must have been thinking about all the beers and tips he’d miss if they left. “OK, y’all shake hands. Dammit, I mean it. If y’all are gonna stay, it’s gonna be friendly. That’s the deal. We’re all Americans, you know.”

For about twenty minutes, nothing happened. People talked in their groups, laughed. Then one of the Sons said over to the BULL members table, “You know, a nation has to say why it is fighting BEFORE it goes to war. All nations in all of history have done that. Right or wrong, they’ve all spelled out their reasons before fighting and killing other people.”

“We don’t disagree with that,” said a BULL member.

“Then why do you say the war was fought over slavery, when Lincoln himself said over and over, it was to preserve the Union. Nobody in the North, I mean NOBODY said they were marching armies into the South to free the slaves. Hell, no white Yankees would have signed up to die for Southern slaves, and you damn well know it.”

“The war was to preserve the Union when it started, then later, it was to free the slaves.”

“You mean, later, when you needed a justification for murdering and raping hundreds of thousands of people, it becomes a noble quest to free the slaves. Before that, it was to preserve the Southern tax base for the Union, am I right?”

“Hell no, you’re not right, asshole.”

One of the Scholars for Justice, a big dude, quickly stood and looked at both sides and said, “Y’all want to get kicked out of here? Cool it.”

“You Southerners fought because you wanted to keep your black mistresses,” said that same dark-haired female BULL member who brought it up earlier and was obviously titillated by the thought.

“Nope. We Southerners fought because Yankee murderers and rapists invaded the South. You invaded our country. That’s why we fought.”

Another Son said, “Hell, at first, Virginia voted against secession. They were not even gonna secede, and Virginia was the biggest Southern state.”

“Virginia was smart,” said a BULL member. “I’ll admit Lincoln tried to get Robert E. Lee to lead the Northern armies but Lee stayed loyal to Virginia.”

“So, why did Virginia secede?”

A couple Sons and a Daughter tried to answer at the same time. “Because Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South. That’s when Virginia seceded.”

Another Son added, “Try to say Virginia seceded to preserve slavery. You’d be a liar. Virginia’s secession convention reconvened the day after Lincoln called for the invasion of the lower South, and they promptly seceded because they did not believe in federal coercion of another sovereign state. Virginia seceded on principle. It had nothing to do with slavery.”

Somebody added from a couple tables away, “And Virginia was followed by the three remaining Southern states not yet in the Confederacy, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. They all seceded right after Virginia to show their disapproval of federal tyranny and coercion.”

“So, all that proves is that Virginia is as traitorous as the rest of the South. It just took her a little longer to show it.”

“Glad you brought that up,” said a Son who had been quiet during most of this argument. “Three states, when they ratified the U.S. Constitution, specifically preserved the right of secession. Virginia, New York and Rhode Island. All three of them demanded that their right of secession be put in writing as a condition prior to accepting the U.S. Constitution. In Virginia’s Ordinance of Secession, she used the exact language from that right of secession that had been preserved and acknowledged by all the other states acceding to the Constitution seventy-nine years earlier.”

Both sides began talking among themselves and the discussion died down except for one BULL member who said that South Carolina was still a hot-headed state like their ancestors who had seceded first and started the whole thing.

That pretty blonde-haired Daughter quickly said, “South Carolina supplied approximately 60,000 Confederate soldiers to Southern armies in the War Between the States, and 40,000 of them were killed or wounded. That’s a legacy of honor, valor and sacrifice unsurpassed in American history. No money-grubbing Yankee state can touch it.”

BULL members were quiet for the first time all night, but not for long. “Yep, that’s a lot of Rebs we killed. I thought one Reb could whip ten Yankees?”

“Well, let me ask you a question. We Southrons were outnumbered four-to-one, we were out-gunned a hundred-to-one, y’all had most of the ships, factories, a functioning government and pipeline to foreign immigration to feed your army with. We had to start everything from scratch. My question to you is, how come we were still able to kill the same number of y’all, that y’all killed of us?”

“Say what?” a member of BULL said.

“That’s absolutely true. Some 350,000 Southerners died, but 350,000 Yankees died too, ‘Stiff in Southern dust,’ as the song goes. So you see, we’ve been feeling pretty good about our valor and honor all these years.”

The lights came on and “Last call for alcohol” was made. Three of the Scholars for Justice stood and addressed both groups. “This has been a fascinating discussion. Both sides have made their points. We have a proposition to make. Can you meet us tomorrow morning before the debate at Magnolia Cemetery, by Soldier’s Ground, next to the Confederate Soldier’s monument. Don’t worry, there’s Yankees buried there too. We want to address both groups together and I’m serious, you will not regret coming. Please come. Ten o’clock.”

There was some discussion in the two groups but it was agreed they would all meet on Soldier’s Ground at Magnolia Cemetery at 10 o’clock the next morning. People headed out the bar and into the beautiful Charleston night. The cool air felt good on their faces. There was a slither of a moon up there and a billion beautiful stars.

The next morning a good crowd showed up at Magnolia Cemetery by the big Confederate soldier’s monument. The Scholars for Justice had set up a podium and loudspeakers. At 10 o’clock sharp, one of the scholars walked to the podium.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for coming. As we said last night, you will not regret it.

“At the end of the War Between the States, Gen. Robert E. Lee told his defeated Southern army to go back home and be good Americans. Southerners have done exactly that

“It is OK that we disagree on the causes of the war. I am a Southerner so, in last night’s debate, I agreed with the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South. However, my best friend, here, William Yang, is a Yankee and disagrees with me, and I respect that.

“I want to propose something to you, but first, I want to read this beautiful poem that was written right after the War Between the States by Miss Agnes Leonard. It’s called After the Battle, and it was first published in the Chicago Journal of Commerce in June, l868, and later in Confederate Veteran magazine. Here, on this sacred ground, at Magnolia Cemetery, is a most appropriate place to read this beautiful, sad poem:

All day long the sun had wandered,
Through the slowly creeping hours,
And at last the stars were shining
Like some golden-petalled flowers
Scattered o’er the azure bosom
Of the glory-haunted night,
Flooding all the sky with grandeur,
Filling all the earth with light.

And the fair moon, with the sweet stars,
Gleamed amid the radiant spheres
Like “a pearl of great price” shining
Just as it had shone for years,
On the young land that had risen,
In her beauty and her might,
Like some gorgeous superstructure
Woven in the dreams of night:

With her “cities hung like jewels”
On her green and peaceful breast,
With her harvest fields of plenty,
And her quiet homes of rest.
But a change had fallen sadly
O’er the young and beauteous land,
Brothers on the field fought madly
That once wandered hand in hand.

And “the hearts of distant mountains
Shuddered,” with a fearful wonder,
As the echoes burst upon them
Of the cannon’s awful thunder.
Through the long hours waged the battle
Till the setting of the sun
Dropped a seal upon the record,
That the day’s mad work was done.

Thickly on the trampled grasses
Lay the battle’s awful traces,
Mid the blood-stained clover-blossoms
Lay the stark and ghastly faces,
With no mourners bending downward
O’er a costly funeral pall;
And the dying daylight softly,
With the starlight watched o’er all.

And, where eager, joyous footsteps
Once perchance were wont to pass,
Ran a little streamlet making
One “blue fold in the dark grass;”
And where, from its hidden fountain,
Clear and bright the brooklet burst
Two had crawled, and each was bending
O’er to slake his burning thirst.

Then beneath the solemn starlight
Of the radiant jeweled skies,
Both had turned, and were intently
Gazing in each other’s eyes.
Both were solemnly forgiving –
Hushed the pulse of passion’s breath –
Calmed the maddening thirst for battle,
By the chilling hand of death.

Then spoke one, in bitter anguish:
“God have pity on my wife,
And my children, in New Hampshire;
Orphans by this cruel strife.”
And the other, leaning closer,
Underneath the solemn sky,
Bowed his head to hide the moisture
Gathering in his downcast eye:

“I’ve a wife and little daughter,
Mid the fragrant Georgia blooms,” –
Then his cry rang sharper, wilder,
“Oh, God, pity all their gloom.”
And the wounded, in their death-hour,
Talking of the loved ones’ woes,
Nearer drew unto each other,
Till they were no longer foes.

And the Georgian listened sadly
As the other tried to speak,
While the tears were dropping softly
O’er the pallor of his cheek:
“How she used to stand and listen,
Looking o’er the fields for me,
Waiting, till she saw me coming,
“neath the shadowy old plum-tree.
Never more I’ll hear her laughter,
As she sees me at the gate,
And beneath the plum-tree’s shadows,
All in vain for me she’ll wait.”

Then the Georgian, speaking softly,
Said: “A brown-eyed little one
Used to wait among the roses,
For me, when the day was done;
And amid the early fragrance
Of those blossoms, fresh and sweet,
Up and down the old verandah
I would chase my darling’s feet.
But on earth no more the beauty
Of her face my eye shall greet,
Nevermore I’ll hear the music
Of those merry pattering feet –
Ah, the solemn starlight, falling
On the far-off Georgia bloom,
Tells no tale unto my darling
Of her absent father’s doom.”

Through the tears that rose between them
Both were trying grief to smother,
As they clasped each other’s fingers
Whispering: “Let’s forgive each other.”

When the morning sun was walking
“Up the gray stairs of the dawn,”
And the crimson east was flushing
All the forehead of the morn,
Pitying skies were looking sadly
On the “once proud, happy land,”
On the Southron and the Northman,
Holding fast each other’s hand.
Fatherless the golden tresses,
Watching neath the old plum-tree;
Fatherless the little Georgian
Sporting in unconscious glee.

There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere. Gray-coated Southerners and blue-coated Yankees were hugging each other and shaking hands and patting each other on the back, while the Scholar for Justice reading the poem recomposed himself because it had touched him too. He had barely been able to get through it.

“We have a proposition for the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South, and Brothers United to Limit Lee. First, we have had considerable debate among the Scholars for Justice about putting black slaveowner William Ellison on the fifty-dollar bill. It had not occurred to us at first but a lot of African Americans probably would not like the idea of a black slaveowner on our money.

“We then had a spirited debate about putting Jim Limber’s picture on there. As you know, he was the adopted black son of Confederate President Jefferson Davis during the war. We have no children on our money so we reasoned that Jim Limber would be seen as reaching out and bringing us together.

“In the end, though, we have decided that it’s time for a non-slaveowning man from that era to be on our American money. We are dropping William Ellison and Jim Limber and will support the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South in putting non-slaveowning Gen. Robert E. Lee on the fifty-dollar bill in place of slaveowning Ulysses S. Grant.”

Blue-coated members of BULL were shaking their heads as Rebel Yells went up to the heavens from the sacred ground at Magnolia Cemetery.

Later that day, on Marion Square, right after John G. Gailliard of the Political Science Department of Charleston College had said that the debate was winner take all, he informed the crowd that the Scholars for Justice were now supporting the Sons and Daughters of the Confederate South in their quest to put Robert E. Lee on the fifty-dollar bill. The debate itself was anticlimactic as the Sons and Daughters with the Scholars soundly defeated BULL and paved the way for the first non-slaveowner from that important era of American history – Confederate General Robert E. Lee – to be honored by having his picture on our American fifty-dollar bill.

 

* Grant's quotation, at the beginning of the story, is paraphrased from a longer quotation that is documented in Footnote 24 of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument., which you can purchase on this website. Here is Footnote 24 on Page 16:

There is a well-known story about Ulysses S. Grant wherein Grant states that he is fighting to preserve the Union and if anybody accuses him of fighting to free the slaves, he will promptly go join the Confederacy and fight on their side. There may be some truth to it, and maybe not. Grant did own one slave whom he freed in 1859, but his wife, Julia, owned four throughout much of the war, therefore Grant's household was a slaveholding household. Grant's supposed quotation was published in 1868 in the Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book, which was a Democratic Party campaign document in the 1868 campaign when Grant was running for president as a Republican. However, in 1861, Grant was a Democrat, and, as stated, living in a slaveholding household. The Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book on page 33 states that Grant was the Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois, stationed near Mexico in 1861, and that Grant's quotation was provided by the editor of the Randolph Citizen, a Missouri newspaper. It starts: "In a public conversation in Ringo's banking-house, a sterling Union man put this question to him [Grant]: 'What do you honestly think was the real object of this war on the part of the Federal Government?'"

'Sir, said Grant, 'I have no doubt in the world that the sole object is the restoration of the Union. I will say further, though, that I am a Democrat - every man in my regiment is a Democrat - and whenever I shall be convinced that this war has for its object anything else than what I have mentioned, or that the Government designed using its soldiers to execute the purposes of the abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier that I will carry my sword to the other side, and cast my lot with that people.'

Source: Democratic Speaker's Hand-Book: Containing every thing necessary for the defense of the national democracy in the coming presidential campaign, and for the assault of the radical enemies of the country and its constitution, compiled by Matthew Carey, Jr. Cincinnati: Miami Printing and Publishing Company, 1868.

Today we celebrate 400 years of American democracy and it all began in the South!

Today we celebrate 400 years of American democracy
and it all began in the South!

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

 

I was doing some research last weekend and ran across an atlas website that looked pretty good and had a nice map.

I started reading under subheading "US History" and could not believe what I was reading!

I had always heard that New Englanders and especially people from Massachusetts were jealous of the South.

They're jealous because America, the greatest nation in human history, was founded in the South - I mean below the Mason-Dixon Line, in Dixie, if you will, at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

That means the very first Americans who weren't Indians were Southerners and damn proud of it back then and damn proud of it today! USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

That's just too much for some of those arrogant New Englanders who go around telling people America didn't really start until they got here in 1620 (they FINALLY got here).

Of course, that is America's first FAKE NEWS to go along with all the FAKE HISTORY that comes out of New England, such as the absurdity that slavery caused the War Between the States and not the Northern lust for other people's money.

As Shelby Foote said, slavery was an element in the secession of the Cotton States but wasn't even close to being the primary cause of it or the war.

Independence, self-government and the supremacy of the States, as the Founding Fathers envisioned, were why the Cotton States seceded.

Those reasons, plus the fact that Southerners were fed up with the hate Northerners used to rally their votes to win the 1860 election.

Despite all that hate, over 60% of the country still voted against Abraham Lincoln.

Southerners were not about to let people who hated them rule over them.

New Englanders absolutely can not make an argument that Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee seceded over anything to do with slavery, and in those four states lived a majority of white Southerners: 52.4%.

Those states initially rejected secession.

But the moment the Federal Government attempted to coerce the sovereign Cotton States, like when Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to invade the South, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee seceded.

The issue was obviously federal coercion and they stated that, over and over, just as Lincoln stated over and over that his desire was not to free the slaves but preserve the Union, because Northern wealth and power were dependent on the Union, on manufacturing for the South and shipping Southern cotton.

Without the North, the South was in great shape with 100% control of King Cotton, the most demanded commodity on the planet.

Without the South, the North was DEAD.

Besides, Northerners and the Brits before them, brought all the slaves here and made huge fortunes in the process, but they don't talk about that too much.

Their fake history proclaims the right of secession to be legal when they want to do it with the Hartford Convention, the Louisiana Purchase, the admission of Texas and other times, but not when we do, despite Virginia (with New York and Rhode Island) reserving the right to secede before acceding to the US Constitution.

That reserved right of secession by Virginia, New York and Rhode Island, which was accepted by all the other states, also GAVE the other states the right of secession because all the states entered the Union as equals. All had the exact same rights.

The website I mentioned above, under its US History heading, has this disgusting fake New England history:

"In 1620, the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower, landing in what is modern-day Massachusetts; their settlement named Plymouth survived, and the story of a new nation was subsequently born."

Of course, this is not history, it is a fraud.

If this person is versed enough in American history to know about the Pilgrims in 1620, then surely they know about Jamestown in 1607.

They most likely made a deliberate decision to falsify the record in order to glorify an undeserving New England.

You have to ask yourself, what else is falsified on this website?

With history as pathetic as it is today, they probably figured they could get away with it.

They would probably also tell you New Englanders who brought all the slaves here and made huge fortunes in the process (along with the Brits before them), were not American's slave traders.

Or that Boston and New York were not the world capitals of the slave trade in 1862, a year into the War Between the States, though W.E.B. Du Bois proves it conclusively in his book, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638- 1870.

An honest mistake or interpretation is understandable, but regardless, this person and everybody like him or her should be corrected.

Here is their web address for anybody who wants to help them with their facts:

 

https://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/us.htm

 

Today, July 30, 2019, is the 400th
anniversary of American democracy.

The story of the most powerful and still freest nation in the history of the world begins in the South, in Virginia, where the capital of the Confederate States of America was located during the War Between the States.

Southerners were led by another beloved Virginia son, Gen. Robert E. Lee, in their bloody fight for independence.

But on this day, 400 years ago, the Virginia House of Burgesses met for the first time, at Jamestown, and became "the first representative legislative assembly in the Western Hemisphere."

The Associated Press, which is usually horribly biased and unreadable, wrote a pretty good story entitled "Seeds of Democracy" (Post and Courier, July 29, 2019).

The House of Burgesses began "as a group of 22 men - two chosen by the white male residents of each of the eleven major settlement areas." Today "Virginia's General Assembly is considered the oldest continuously operating legislative body in North America."

Finally, the AP and Post and Courier say something good about white Southern males!

Feels like it's been 400 years since the last time they did that!

In honor of American democracy's 400th anniversary, here is a PDF entitled Virginia First, written by another Virginian, Dr. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, son of our 10th US president, John Tyler, who served from 1841 to 1845. John Tyler was also a member of the Confederate Congress.

Lyon Gardiner Tyler wrote A Confederate Catechism and numerous other outstanding books and articles. He brought the College of William and Mary back from the dead after the War Between the States, and he served with great honor as its 17th president for over three decades, from 1888 to 1919.

Click Here to download the Virginia First PDF, then save to your computer and send to whomever you want!

Defending the South to an editor of the Charleston, SC Post and Courier

Defending the South to an editor of the
Charleston, SC Post and Courier

by Gene Kizer, Jr.

I had some correspondence with an editor of the Post and Courier this week when I sent them a letter for publication in response to their July 6, 2019 editorial "Don't let extremists define our national symbols."

As a result, I saw an opening to send some valuable Southern history to this newspaper and I jumped on it.

Their editorial is good in that they are alarmed at Nike removing the Betsy Ross flag, the Charlottesville city council ending a celebration of Thomas Jefferson, and the idiots on the San Francisco school board voting to paint over an 80-year-old work of art portraying the life of George Washington.

The Post and Courier does not want us to validate bad people who attempt to redefine patriotic symbols, but wait! THEY in the media have done exactly that for years ad nauseam!

The media is the primary reason we have this politically correct hate and destruction of history in the body politic.

Here is the 250 word letter-to-the-editor that got this started:

 

START

Your editorial of July 6, "Don't let extremists define our national symbols" shows that your heart is in the right place but, boy, you need to look in the mirror.

You let the KKK and Dylan Roof define the Confederate battle flag though neither of them has an iota of claim to it.

You put the Southern Poverty Law Center's disgraceful campaign to remove Confederate monuments on your front page, and you agitate all the time against ancient monuments including the Calhoun monument on Marion Square, and even against the word "Dixie."

And now you are surprised when Colin Kaepernick and others follow your lead and turn the Betsy Ross flag, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington into vile racists?

The foundation of our great nation was indeed set in 1776 as you write, but it was certainly not "reset in 1865." It died a violent death in 1865.

In the republic of the Founding Fathers, states were supreme, but after 1865, the Federal Government and Northern majority were supreme, which was the North's goal all along.

You quote the Gettysburg Address but here's what the great H. L. Mencken wrote in May, 1920: "The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination - 'that government of the people, by the people, for the people,' should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves....".

END

 

The editor wrote back and asked who the "you" was and that gave me my opening:

 

Actually, the “you” is the Post and Courier, but also the news media in general because so much of the media is of the same political philosophy, which has utterly politicized history in recent decades.

As serious historians know, one can’t apply 21st century standards to the past. When you do that, you aren’t understanding the past at all. You are using it as a current-day political tool.

Your Robert Behre explained to us on the front page on May 16th why we should hate the word "Dixie" after the College of Charleston in a disgusting fit of political correctness changed the 175-year-old name of Dixie Plantation ("C of C dumps 'Dixie' name for plantation"). Behre then implied why we should also hate the song "Dixie" and word "plantation."

Do you not find it odd that four weeks later on June 15th, the Antifa vandalizers of the Defenders Monument at the Battery also had a large sign that said “DIXIE IS DEAD.”

Maybe they were inspired by Behre and maybe it was just a coincidence, but the Post and Courier is really not fair or accurate with Southern history at all.

You let the KKK and Dylan Roof define the Confederate battle flag though neither of them has an iota of claim to it. The battle flag is, arguably, the greatest symbol of pure American valor our nation has ever produced because it was a soldier's flag, not a national flag. It flew over the bloodiest battlefields of a war in which 800,000 died and over a million were wounded. It never flew over a slave ship like the US and British flags did for over two centuries. The largest Klan groups of the early 20th century carried the American flag.

Your editorial had mentioned the Declaration of Independence so I wanted to tell you that when Southerners debated seceding in the months before they actually did, the most widely quoted phrase of the secession debate came 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. . .

And please don't quote that garbage about States Rights being the right to own another person. The Confederate Constitution allowed free or slave states to join.

Five slave states fought for the North throughout the entire war, and the Emancipation Proclamation deliberately exempted them all as well as slaves in most Confederate territory already captured by the Union army.

The one thing that can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt is that the North did not go to war to end slavery. They went to war to preserve the Union, as Lincoln said over and over, because all their wealth and power were tied to the Union. They manufactured for the South and shipped Southern cotton and they made obscene amounts of money with tariffs, bounties, subsidies, monopolies and such, which caused three-fourths of the treasury to flow continually into the North, though most of the money in the treasury came from the South.

When the Cotton States seceded, the Northern economy began a dramatic collapse and by war time, there were hundreds of thousands of people unemployed and a dire situation in the North.

Southerners seceded because they were fed up with Northern hate and support for terrorism such as John Brown and Hinton Helper that Republicans had used to rally their votes in the election of 1860 in which over 60% of voters nationwide voted against Abraham Lincoln.

The War Between the States was one of the most unnecessary wars in all of history but then, from Lincoln's standpoint, it was necessary for him and his new political party to establish their control over the rest of the country, though 800,000 had to die and over a million be wounded for them to do it.

To Southerners, 1861 was 1776 all over, and we in Charleston can be especially proud because we were never beaten by the Union army or navy. Charleston was unconquered militarily and never surrendered in the War Between the States. It was the only place besieged that did not give way to the besieger. When Confederate troops were ordered to evacuate in February, 1865 to continue the war elsewhere, the city, which had endured one of the longest sieges in history, was turned over to the Union army by a city alderman.

Slavery was dying out and would not have lasted another generation.

It is unconscionable that you maintain this politically correct hatefulness toward Southern history. Maybe you should go back and read your own archives which tell a different story.

XXXXXXX, people are SO fed up with idiotic political correctness. The removal of Kate Smith’s monument (she helped win WWII with God Bless America) recently, and, as your editorial pointed out, Charlottesville’s canceling of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday; the San Francisco school board’s decision to paint over a beautiful 80 year old mural of the life of George Washington; the Kaepernick/Nike thing over the Betsy Ross flag.

It is disgusting and alarming, as your editorial pointed out. It is like a cancer. It ain’t gonna stop. It needs to be opposed and defeated, which will be hard because one political party is heavily invested in it.

I wish the Post and Courier would give me a chance to write long articles on history as you do with others. Everything I write is solidly argued and documented. It would definitely add to the debate.

Regardless, thank you for letting me send this to you.

Gene