A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
The Real Cause of the War
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
At the end of this article, beneath the notes I have cited, is "Actual Citation from Book," Mitcham's endnotes for Chapter XI.
MITCHAM'S EPIGRAPHS are perfect. Chapter XI's are:
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.---Charles Dickens, 1862
No soldier on either side gave a damn about the slaves.---Shelby Foote, American historian
For the love of money is the root of all evil. . . .---1 Timothy 6:10
Mitcham opens Chapter XI with:
And now we come to the real cause of the war: money. Most wars have been about money or the transfer of riches and territory, which also equates to money, eventually. This economic factor should never be ignored.1
The North has been benefiting from the federal government since the beginning of the country. Once they realized they could take over the federal government in 1860 because of their larger population and exploit the rest of the country, they were determined like a pack of snarling wolves about to tear a lamb to bits, thus legendary Yankee greed was born.
Georgia noted it in her declaration of causes for secession which is regularly ignored by most of the Marxist historians in academia who are not interested in truth but only the political advantage of the left:
The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all.
Yankees were the "federals" in the war who established the supremacy of the federal government over the states.
Mitcham points out that shortly after the Revolutionary War, all state debt was transferred to the federal government which greatly benefited the North because Southerners had to pay most of that debt via tariffs.
Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri who was anti-slavery said to the Senate in 1828:
Before the Revolution, it [the South] was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality. Money, and all it commanded, abounded there. But how is it now? All this is reversed.2
Benton asked himself why and his answer was "Federal legislation":
Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia may be said to defray three-fourths of the annual expense in supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually, furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of Government expenditures. . . . the South must be exhausted of its money, and its property, by a course of legislation, which is forever taking away, and never returning anything. Every new tariff increases the force of this action. No tariff has ever yet included Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, except to increase the burdens imposed upon them.3
This is an important chapter and Mitcham explains the "symbiotic economic relationship" between South and North with clarity:
When the Southerners bought their slaves from the Yankee flesh peddlers, they were using money loaned to them by Northern banks. The worldwide industrial revolution was based largely on textile manufacturing, which required enormous amounts of cotton. The South produced more than 75 percent of the world's cotton. The New England textile industry was built on this cotton, which was mostly planted, cultivated, picked, and ginned by slaves. Cotton, produced by slaves, built the North's prosperity like that of the Deep South.4
These are the EXACT themes of my book, Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War Between the States, The Irrefutable Argument. They are the themes of many excellent books by authors such as Mike Scruggs, Phil Leigh, Charles Adams, Thomas DiLorenzo, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and others BUT it really started in 1860 with Thomas Prentice Kettell, the most preeminent economist of the time.
Kettell's famous book, Southern Wealth and Northern Profits, proves conclusively that Southerners were producing the wealth of the country with agricultural commodities, but Yankees were making all the money with federal legislation that gave them bounties, subsidies, and monopoly status for their businesses as well as tariffs.
And Northerners manufactured for the South and shipped Southern cotton all over the world. Kettell's analysis is solid and he was observing everything first hand in real time.
Mitcham writes that Wall Street and Yankee bankers were indirectly dependent on "cotton and slavery":
Cotton was America's number one economic product, accounting for more than half of all exports. The export value of cotton alone stood at $161,434,923 in 1859. That same year, the total value of all exports from the North stood at only $78,217,202. In other words, the value of one Southern product accounted for more than twice the value of all Northern exports combined.5
Incredibly, "80 to 90 percent of federal revenue came from the Southern export trade, which was largely built on slavery." Mitcham writes:
Here we see the real reason Abraham Lincoln and the more moderate Republicans did not wish to disturb slavery in the South: from its establishment up until 1861, the United States government was mostly funded by Southern agriculture and especially the cotton industry, much of which depended on slave labor. If slavery were abolished, federal funding would be eliminated with it. Thus Lincoln and his allies only opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories.6
So funny and ironic but this was a double-win for Republicans because they could support slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress in places where slavery already existed as they did by supporting the Corwin Amendment, but stand against slavery in the territories which they did --- not because they were against slavery --- but because they were against blacks living anywhere near them in the West.
The Morrill Tariff introduced by Vermont Representative Justin Smith Morrill "would have raised the average dutiable ad valorem tax on imports from just under 20 percent in 1860 (under the Tariff of 1857) to more than 36 percent in 1862----and a whopping 47 percent within three years."7 But:
Predictably, some of the protected Northern industries and corporations needed to import specific items, so these were classified as non-dutiable (not taxed).8
As has been observed over and over, federal legislation was enriching the North and robbing the South blind, and Southerners in 1860 would no longer be able to protect themselves from this blatant theft being forced on them by the Northern majority. That is a primary reason they seceded from the Union.
Would you allow yourself to be robbed blind by a region that hated your guts and sent murdering terrorists into your peaceful towns and villages to poison wells and incite slave insurrections where your women and children would be raped and murdered in the night as happened in Haiti?
It is easy to see why Lincoln and the North feared Southern economic power, especially when allied with Europe and specifically Great Britain. Southerners:
[A]ccounted for close to 82 percent of U.S. export business and for more than 83 percent of American tariff revenues even before the Morrill Tariff. About 80 percent of these revenues went to public works projects, railroads, and industrial subsidies in the North, enriching Northerners at the expense of the South. The Morrill Tariff would make this unhealthy situation even worse.9
Imagine turning all that money back on the South. Imagine the growth and increase in standard of living. After all, it was Southern money. Many prominent Southerners during the secession debate in the South in the year prior to states seceding pointed that out.
But for each dollar of Southern money that stayed in the South, it meant the same dollar not going into Northern pockets.
Raising tariffs meant Northern manufacturers could raise their prices up to the level of the tariff:
If the Northern industrial special interests could raise the tariffs on imports from Britain, they could sell Northern products at a higher price and thus reap higher profits. This is what Calhoun was trying to block when he demanded to know what business the government had picking the winners and losers in the private sector.10
Mitcham writes about the passage of the Morrill Tariff after seven Southern states had seceded and their senators and representatives were out of the U.S. Congress:
It is worth noting that the tariff bill had priority even before excluding slavery from the territories.11
Henry Clay's "America System was now the law of the land" but:
[I]t only helped the North. The Constitution allowed the federal government to collect the tariffs to fund itself, but it had never been meant to enrich some people at the expense of others. Now the Constitution was irrelevant. Turned on its ear, it no longer served as an instrument to limit federal power.12
Just as we saw with the transcontinental railroad route chosen to go through the North to the West, the sectional Republican Party as Wendell Phillips had proudly stated, was fulfilling the desires of the North and its Northern president, Abraham Lincoln, against the rest of the country, and the writing was on the wall.
Southerners with their Jeffersonian belief in the sovereignty and supremacy of their states, would hereafter be outvoted by the Northern majority pushing Northern economic interests every single time. Robert Toombs called the federal government a "suction pump" sucking wealth out of the South and depositing it in the North, and it would now have unlimited power, forever.
This Union was now for the benefit of the North as Alexis de Tocqueville and others had warned could happen. De Tocqueville had said if any one state got the power to control the federal government it would make the rest of the country tributary to its wealth and power, and now, the Northern states had that power with their majority and the sectional Republican Party, the party of the North pledged against the South as Wendell Phillips stated.
This is what Lincoln was fighting for when he started his war by sending his hostile naval force against Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens in 1861.
And it worked.
The North has been the center of money, power and culture since Appomattox, though it is in great decline today with massive crime as we see out West and in New York City as Yankees flee the horribly-governed woke North for the South where folks are friendly and the region is dynamic, free, supports law enforcement, and is well-governed by leaders like Ron DeSantis in Florida.
DeSantis governs one of the freest states in the country yet has the lowest COVID problems in sharp contrast to much of the locked-down, masked-up, "show me your vaccination papers" North.
Mitcham points out that Southern wealth was not limited to the planter class:
Dixie had 33 percent of the nation's railroad mileage and was ahead of every other country in the world except, of course, the United States as a whole. It also had navigable rivers that did not freeze, several excellent ports, and a per capita income 10 percent higher than all the states west of Pennsylvania. . . . It also had a large, highly industrious class of yeoman farmers. Most of them did not own slaves. Only about 6 to 7 percent of the Confederate enlistees had slaves. Slaveholding yeoman farmers usually had only one or two. They labored in the cotton fields right beside their chattels.13
Many Northern newspapers at first supported the right of secession. Horace Greeley famously said "let our erring sisters go." He wrote in his New-York Tribune: "The South has as good a right to secede from the Union as the colonies had to secede from Great Britain." Even the Northwest Daily Tribune, a pro-Lincoln newspaper, said that if the South opted to form an independent nation, "they [would] have a clear moral right to do so."14
But soon they realized that Southern secession meant the collapse of the Northern economy. Northern manufacturing was based mostly on selling to their captive market in the South at high prices jacked up by tariffs. Secession meant Southerners could buy better goods from Europe at much lower prices as they had always wanted to do plus they would manufacture for themselves. They were chomping at the bit to do it.
Southerners outlawed protective tariffs and made them unconstitutional. They also put in law that each state would fund the internal improvements it wanted itself. Southern states would never be taxed again then have the tax money spent in the North.
Northerners were going to lose their shipping industry too, and overnight. The Morrill Tariff was like pumping gasoline into an already blazing fire. It meant the rest of the world would have to pay 47 to 60% to ship into the North, or pay 10% to ship into the South because Southerners felt that "if 10 percent was good enough for God" it was good enough for them!15
Nobody would be shipping into the North at Morrill Tariff rates so Northern ship captains were heading South to Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans where goods would be put on the Mississippi River and railroads and distributed to the rest of the country.
Secession meant a complete shift of economic power from North to South, and overnight.
To boot, Southerners had 100% control of King Cotton, the most demanded commodity on the planet that had been 60% of U.S. exports alone in 1860.
No wonder Lincoln and greedy Republicans started their war. They were not about to tolerate a free trade nation on their Southern border allied with Europe militarily and via trade alliances.
Lincoln knew he had four times the white population of the South and maybe 200 times the armaments at that point in history so in his Republican mind there was no reason to wait a second longer. He was anxious to set up his blockade and chill European negotiations and treaties with the South.
It was now clear that many of the Northern politicians had seriously miscalculated the depths of Southern feelings about the tariffs, Northern hypocrisy, disrespect for the rule of law, hate-filled abolitionist propaganda, slavery, protecting terrorists, encouraging servile insurrection, corporate welfare, cultural arrogance, and a host of other matters that provoked secession.16
A Comprehensive Review of
It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.
Lincoln and His Agenda
(Click Here to go to previous week: Part Eight: Chapter X, The Election of 1860)
(Scroll down for:
It Wasn't About Slavery, Actual Citation from Book)
1 Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War (Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2020), 111.
2 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 111-112.
3 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 112.
4 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 112.
5 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 113.
7 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 114.
10 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 115.
12 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 116.
13 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 118.
14 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 119.
15 Mitcham, It Wasn't About Slavery, 120.