Author’s Note: I know I write often about the Civil War, but this is being written because this weekend, for the first time I can recall, the community I live in is holding a weekend long Civil War festival at Riverfront Park. There will be displays and re-enactments and I wanted to share this with you in the hopes that before this event some of you might open your eyes to the truth regarding the bloodiest, and most misunderstood period of our countries history.
How do you imagine the history books would have recorded the actions of the American Colonists had they lost the Revolution? Would they still have been recorded as brave patriots fighting for their cause against the army of a tyrant, or would they have been marked as rebels who revolted against their government? I’ll tell you how they would have been recorded, they would have been recorded the same way the history books record the actions of the South in the period known as the Civil War; as traitors and rebels.
Most of what you have been taught about the Civil War is a flat out lie, and that which isn’t is taught from the perspective of the victors; the Union and the government that sent those Union soldiers southward to invade and occupy a sovereign nation.
Towards the end of that bloody conflict Major General Patrick Cleburne warned his fellow Confederates of what would happen should they lose their war for independence from the Union, “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision…”
All these statues and monuments being torn down across the country; all the anger and hatred aimed at them and the Confederate Battle Flag; all of these things are founded upon one big lie; that lie being that the Civil War was about the South trying to maintain the institution of slavery. If that lie where to be exposed then the justification for these acts of historical censorship goes away as well, and those behind them will be exposed for what they are; people who are either ignorant, or too lazy to seek out the truth.
To those of you who still maintain the belief that the war was fought either to end slavery or keep it alive in America, I pose the following challenge; prove your position with facts! Now when I say facts I do not mean something you were taught in school, or saw on the television. What I mean is prove it by something that was said or written back in the 1860’s when the war was actually fought. I dare you to come up with any evidence to support your position.
I, on the other hand, can prove that the war was not fought over slavery; it was fought for the continued domination by the government over all its component parts; the States. First off, let’s tackle the issue that causes so much anger and animosity towards anything Confederate; slavery.
As Commander in Chief of the Union Army, Abraham Lincoln was the official spokesperson for the Northern cause. As a newly elected president it was customary that he deliver an inaugural address to the Union, telling the people the plans his administration hoped to accomplish, and addressing any difficulties the country might be facing. As the question of a looming rift in the country between North and South was front and center among those difficulties Lincoln sought to assure the South that he had no desire to take away their slaves, “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.”
Not only was the president promising to not interfere with the institution of slavery, both houses of Congress had passed a resolution, which was to be sent to the States for ratification, which would have amended the Constitution to make slavery permanent in America. This Corwin Amendment, had it been ratified, states, “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
Not only had Congress already agreed to the wording of this resolution, Abraham Lincoln supported it as well, also stating in his Inaugural Address, “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.”
In an 1862 letter to editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln furthermore states, “If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”
So, all this hubbub about Lincoln being the Great Emancipator who fought for the freedom and equal rights of the slaves is based upon lies. In fact, Lincoln did not believe the slaves to be his equal. Before he was even elected to the Presidency he stated as much in a debate with Stephen Douglas held in Charleston, Illinois in 1858, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” Those are Abraham Lincolns feelings, not mine; yet I am the racist because I support the Confederacy, while Lincoln has a monument dedicated in his honor in Washington D.C.― justify the logic of that if you can.
So, if slavery WAS NOT the reason for the war, what was? Simply put, the Civil War was fought so that the government created by the States and the people could maintain supremacy and dominance over those who had created it. The secession of the 11 States of the Confederacy was a challenge that could not be ignored by the government of the Union; for if it went unchallenged then what was to stop the New England States from leaving the Union and forming their own nation? If Lincoln let the South go in peace there may have come a time when there was a government with no one left in the Union to govern; and Lincoln simply couldn’t allow that to happen.
In his letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln tells of his purpose in sending troops into the South; to restore the national authority, “The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be the Union as it was.”
In March, 1861, Lincoln went on to address the people, saying, “In doing this there needs to be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. 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.”
Aha, now the truth reveals itself; Lincoln invaded the South to maintain national supremacy AND MORE IMPORTANTLY to keep the tariffs flowing into the treasury. Lincoln knew that if he let the South go then the funds flowing into the federal treasury would be drastically reduced; leaving him, and his Republican cohorts, powerless to enact much of their agenda. No, the South simply could not be allowed to leave; not only would it leave the government almost penniless, it would devastate the Northern economy as well.
In 1860 the Cleveland Daily National Democrat wrote, “The entire amount, in dollars and cents, of produce and of manufactured articles exported to foreign countries from the United States for the year ending June, 1858, was $293,758,279, of which amount the raw cotton exported alone amounted to $131,386,661. . . taking the estimate of the cotton used [in the] North . . . and adding it to the worth of the cotton sent abroad, and we have over one hundred and fifty-eight million dollars worth of cotton as the amount furnished by the South.
Deduct from the exports the silver and gold and the foreign goods exported, and the cotton crop of the South alone exported exceeds the other entire export of the United States, and when to this we add the hemp and Naval stores, sugar, rice, and tobacco, produced alone in the Southern States, we have near two-thirds of the value entire of exports from the South.
Let the States of the South separate, and the cotton, the rice, hemp, sugar and tobacco, now consumed in the Northern States must be purchased [from the] South, subject to a Tariff duty, greatly enhancing their cost. The cotton factories of New England now, by getting their raw cotton duty free, are enabled to contend with the English in the markets of their own Provinces, and in other parts of the world. A separation would take from us this advantage, and it would take from the vessels owned by the North the carrying trade of the South, now mostly monopolised by them.”
That same month the New York Post wrote, “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.”
In this modern day and age when people consider paying their taxes their patriotic duty, I can understand why some of them feel that the South should have been forced to remain in the Union so that the government could continue to stay in operation, but back then taxation was not done as it is today, by taxing the income of every working person. No, back in the 1800’s a majority of the taxes collected came from tariffs; and most of those tariffs were paid and collected in the South; stripping it of its wealth just to keep the government open for business.
In 1828 Senator Thomas Hart Benton spoke the following on the floor of the U.S. Senate, “I feel for the sad changes, which have taken place in the South, during the last fifty years. Before the Revolution, it 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. Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions, of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing….Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue….Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths, of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction—it flows northwardly, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North…taking from the South, and returning nothing to it.”
I wonder how many people know that Jefferson Davis also served as a United States Senator before becoming President of the Confederate States of America; not very many I imagine. After all, just the other day I learned that very few people knew that John Wilkes Booth, (the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln), was a stage actor who performed the plays of William Shakespeare.
Getting back to Jefferson Davis, he once said about the war between the North and South, “I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence.”
And that, my friends and enemies, is the real reason this war was fought; it was a war between those who sought to free themselves from an oppressive government, and those who fought to maintain that government’s control over those who sought to be free of it.
That is how England saw it, with the London Times publishing the following in November, 1861, ” [T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”
Sixty years later, while serving as President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson would write, “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.” (Source: A History of The American People, page 231)
In his defense of the British Soldiers accused of murdering civilians in the Boston Massacre, John Adams stated, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
To those of you who say the Civil War was fought to end slavery, prove it; provide me with something, some evidence to back up your claim! I’m betting that you can’t. And I would also ask, (although I know it is futile to do so), that if you don’t know what you are talking about that you keep your mouth shut about the Confederacy and what it is they were fighting for; because they were fighting for the same thing our Founding Fathers were― freedom from a government that had grown tyrannical and oppressive.
And as a closing thought, all you who have taken great offense at the disrespect shown to the American Flag; the kneeling during the singing of the National Anthem and such; what have you to say about all the disrespect shown to the Confederate Battle Flag? After all, it, more than the Stars and Stripes, stands for the same thing our Founders fought for back in 1776…freedom from an oppressive government.
If you ask me, your support for Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes, or whatever else you choose to call it, shows me that you support a government that feels it has the right and authority to use force to suppress freedom and independence.
Those who fought on the side of the Confederacy did so with regret. They loved the Union, and being a part of it. What they did not love was the government taking advantage of them; plundering their wealth to fund Northern interests. Many of them said so, both during and after the war.
General Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose statue was recently removed in Memphis, once said, “I loved the old government in 1861. I loved the old Constitution yet. I think it is the best government in the world, if administered as it was before the war. I do not hate it; I am opposing now only the radical revolutionists who are trying to destroy it. I believe that party to be composed, as I know it is in Tennessee, of the worst men on Gods earth – men who would hesitate at no crime, and who have only one object in view – to enrich themselves.”
Even Robert E. Lee, who has seen many monuments dedicated to him removed, once said, “All that the South has ever desired was that the Union as established by our forefathers should be preserved and that the government as originally organized should be administered in purity and truth.”
But every man, whether he be an individual or a member of a larger political society, has the right to be free of tyranny and oppression. The South was justified in leaving the Union, and by invading them and imposing the will of the government upon them, the North, under the command of Abraham Lincoln, are the ones who were imposing tyranny upon those who only wished to govern themselves as they saw fit.
And that is the truth regarding the Civil War…take it or leave it. But don’t start a discussion with me about something you know absolutely nothing about; that is unless you want to walk away with your tail between your legs, looking like the ignorant fool you are.