By: James W. King
Camp Commander, Albany Georgia
Sons of Confederate Veterans email@example.com
The Confederate States of America (CSA) and the Confederate Battle Flag are symbols of resistance to the tyranny and despotism of an overreaching, socialistic, highly centralized and authoritarian dictatorial government; so it’s no wonder the elite power brokers want it erased from memory. While it was waved by racists during the Civil Rights movement, so was the American flag in at least equal numbers. In fact, the American flag flew over a “racist America ” far longer than the Confederacy stood as a nation. These facts demonstrate the abject hypocrisy and vapid thought processes of the elites, the race hucksters and their propaganda machine.
The culture war on the South is ongoing and at the highest level the Socialist-Communist Left (aka Democratic Party) and One World Government (New World Order) proponents are leading the attack. Americans who condemn, berate, disparage, and demand the Confederate flag and CSA monuments removed are acting as "Useful Idiots" as defined by Communist Vladimir Lenin years ago. Socialism and Communism are operating under the cloak and guise of "Humanitarianism" and those Americans that have been deceived are many. Black Americans were especially targeted for indoctrination and the efforts have been highly successful. Polls indicate that about 80% oppose the CSA flag and other CSA memorials. Racism is a Communist word coined in the 1930 era as part of the "divide and conquer" plan to take control of America by pitting white and black Americans against each other. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others were trained at the Communist Highlander school at Monteagle Tennessee.
It is very important that we know and understand who America's enemy are and what the enemies goal for America is. The two primary goals are to establish totalitarian Socialism and Secular Humanism (the belief that there is no God and that man, science, and government can solve all problems). To accomplish these goals America's Constitution and Bill of Rights are being violated and knowingly misrepresented and shredded by activist Supreme Court judges. Calling the Constitution a "Living Document" is a scheme developed by these liberals that allows them to interpret it as they choose rather than as America's founding fathers (who were primarily Southern gentlemen from Virginia) intended.
Over the last month following the tragic shooting in a South Carolina church by a mentally deranged and probably drug influenced 21 year old white male who had been photographed with a CSA flag, the liberal Left has made unwarranted and unethical attacks against everything associated with the CSA. The mayor of Memphis Tennessee and the city council voted to remove the grave and statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The fact that Forrest was an early civil rights advocate for blacks is ignored. In 1875 he gave a speech for the "Pole Bearers" a forerunner of the NAACP promoting black Civil Rights. Numerous weak kneed and emasculated Republican politicians who are historically ignorant and either do not understand or care that the Confederate flag represents the same values as the original Betsy Ross U.S. flag have joined with the Socialist-Communist Left in denouncing and removing the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag represents limited constitutional federal government, states rights, resistance to tyranny, and christian values and principles.
James Webb who was Secretary of the Navy under president Ronald Reagan and later a Democratic Senator from Virginia is quoted as saying "to tar the sacrifices of the Confederate soldier as acts of racism is one of the great blasphemies of the modern era".
In the late 1980's the NAACP was experiencing great reductions in membership numbers so they began a crusade against everything Confederate instead of addressing crime, school dropout, unwed mothers, and teen pregnancy. The "Culture War" against the Conservative and Christian South began about 1830 by the Socialist North and has continued unabated to this day. What we are witnessing today is an all out attack on Western Culture and Civilization and a movement toward a totalitarian Socialist "One World Government". Historically ignorant indoctrinated Americans acting as Vladimir Lenin's "useful idiots" as serving as a vanguard for the attacks. For over 50 years the liberal left has talked multiculturalism, diversity, tolerance, and freedom of speech but they obviously don't include Confederate Americans. Political correctness does not allow it.
From Craig Maus in response to Mr. King-Thank you for sending your article to me James-
* You ‘echo’ Sir that which The Confederate Society has said would come for over 2-Decades should the efforts of those in Washington remain on-going & successful.
* Sadly, the resulting ‘Discriminatory & Divisive Political Policies’ of those in Washington are but the Tactical Applications associated with an odious Ideology that has long been in play for over 150 years.
* An Ideology that continues to gain in Size & Power thanks in large part to the manufactured dumbing down of each Generation via a controlled EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT resulting in the most prolific example associated with the- ‘Ask Me NO Questions and I’ll Tell Ye NO Lies’ axiom associated with the human condition.
* By NOT taking the action we and others suggested long ago, an Enormous Price is NOW being extracted from ALL. This is what is to be expected when the Illusion of ‘Fairness’ under the guise & Doctrine of ‘Social-Humanitarianism’ percolates & permeates from the same Political Ideology whose extract is every bit the same political poison that was once known & totally forbade within the original American Republic. The result- Cultural Obliteration brought about by the obscurity known as ‘Political Correctness’ leaving this Country & any responsible for the fabric of its creation Defenseless! By any other description-Genocide via a Tactical Application known as Neutralization.
* This is how Many Countries throughout World History have fallen, becoming Victims within a self-created parody emanating from Political deception. Washington brought this about & referred to their skullduggery as…… “The Acts of RECONSTRUCTION” and have been using them ever since 1868.
* Nothing less than an All-Out counter-offensive will serve as the preventative measure needed to lessen, and hopefully, prevent the further Political Usurpation, Eradication & Exploitation now being waged upon Each & Every One of us NO matter ones colour or gender.
* Adding to this onslaught, as our Confederate Society has noted, has been Washington’s Leftist Lackey Lieutenants within each of their Special Interest organizations who simply advance their Political Poison realizing ‘special gains’ in return for their capitulation.
* America’s RECONSTRUCTION began long ago. It has remained a ‘Political Genetic’ employed by BOTH Parties that are entirely beyond anything resembling ‘Representative’. Both have been engaged, clearly, in America’s Transformation. Anyone still believing or thinking otherwise is already a statistical Casualty but are Not yet aware of it.
* Refusing or deciding to ignore America’s plight remains tantamount to writing one’s own epitaph. There is NO ‘cavalry’ or ‘Santa Claus’ coming to save the day. If you want to STOP this madness, then YOU will have to do it along with those who not long ago were thought of us as being ‘nuts’ for simply understanding & predicting the entirety of what was to come and befell us all. It is now before everyone! OUR History included men & women who understood these simple political parameters who combined that sense of awareness with a STEEL RESOLVE that few, if any, ever dared to cross. It was a Sacred Bridge…..but look at how things have changed via Reconstruction?
* What we are witnessing today is the RESULTANT Genocide of a Country that has been materially RECONSTRUCTED because of a concocted War created by Political Usurpers.
* The accompanying Eugenics and what those policies have done relative to what Those People did, have had the predictable results our Confederate Society claimed they would. One did not have to possess a crystal ball to see the future but simply possess the same STEEL RESOLVE once common place & associated with our ancestors. Our Confederacy possessed this quality & UNDERSTOOD these ‘parameters’ only too well.
* We may have passed the ‘Point of No-Return’ but I remain hopeful that ‘things’ are still ‘salvageable’……..but Time is fleeting and It waits for NO Man!
* ALL this and more should have been seen for what it was worth when the naacp, one of Washington’s many Special Interest Lackey’s, fired the ‘first shots’ in 1991 with their ‘Resolution’ against ALL THINGS SOUTHERN and MOST Particularly Confederate. That was when many a ‘Bell’ should have sounded throughout this Country, particularly HERE IN DIXIE!
* Those People, like their White counter-parts, are but an extension of an Ideology created from a ruthless War that was designed to re-create the purpose of the Original Republic whose original government was a LIMITED Federal Republic & at their Greater Expense of one & all alike NO matter your color or gender….and always using ‘Fairness & Humanitarianism’ to hold the upper hand allowing for Deception to perpetuate.
* Those People have ‘ridden this pony’ to their un-ending delight.
* Thus, We have ALL become Statistical Casualties resulting from Those Peoples’ Socialized endeavors. They are the equivalent of Political PLANNED ‘PARENTHOOD’.
* Race has become their ‘unfiltered’ dynamic allowing for this American Tragedy to go unfettered without a single voice ever being raised for fear of becoming the ultimate social pariah- a ‘Racist’!
* The naacp used this methodology in the South and upon our Confederacy to re-charge their waning batteries in 1991 as any and all human civil rights actions had been heretofore dealt with in their entirety…… but a New & Improved Dynamic was necessary in order to maintain their realized Power Crystal and it was more than clear as to what was COMING.
* AMERICA has since been running away from itself using every excuse in the book to avoid the unpleasantness associated with the definition of character, resolve & Involvement! This Black Lives Matter Movement is simply another example, extension & outgrowth similar to that of the naacp’s in 1991 thanks to an Altered dynamic that serves the few at the greater expense of the majority. It is nothing more than a Political Cloaking Device that subordinates the cardinal Truth that was once intrinsic to the general welfare of the greater WHOLE! Illegal Immigration is akin to this narrative as we are NO LONGER A NATION OF LAWS but a NATION OF EXCUSES maintaining positions based upon perceived Dynamics associated with ‘FAIRNESS’….the ultimate precursor to the obliteration of the Declaration and Constitution that spoke of LAW and NOT a manipulated SOCIAL FRANCHISE associated with Political Fairness whose ‘CORRECTNESS’ is destroying us ALL!
* In 1991 James we approached the SCV Hierarchy. We told them to use their CASH CANNONS & turn them around & point them in the direction of an enemy that was clearly targeting & descending on us here in Dixie. We shouldn’t have had to explain to them WHY as the WHY was clearly apparent to anyone with an ounce of common sense.
*We were told to go and whistle ‘DIXIE’!
* ALL organizations have their Fat-Cats who simply want to ingratiate themselves at another’s expense. And they are NO different James.
* The South once despised a Scalawag MORE than the Yankee.
* The South knew the difference and I’d like to think we still do. * The time is long overdue James when the Good Southerner’s and Good Northerner’s SEPARATE themselves from these Pretenders in Charge and say NO MORE EVERMORE. We MUST close ranks before our time runs out James.
* Once again I would respectfully suggest a Confederate Alliance be established CONSISTING of all like-minded men & women across this country who can still understand & distinguish the Smell of Stench and what it portends from the reality at hand and come together as Brothers & Sisters before it is too late.
* The Camps MUST rebel and use the money they freely give to the Fat Cats who have sold them out and turn their Cash Cannons around and point them in the direction of the enemy that is advancing and burning our cities in the name of excuses associated with a Political Dementia brought about by an Ideology whose liquidation of mankind has been seen the world over time and again….. an IDEOLOGY once known to these former Sovereign States of this Original Republic’s Confederation. Deo Vindice! Separation NOW less Certain Holocaust Tomorrow! Respectfully, Craig Maus, President, The Confederate Society of America
Editors Note: They NAACP in Ft. Myers (Lee County) is also trying to rid this image of General Lee from the county courthouse. They will never stop until they expunge all semblances of our Confederate history.
by Al Benson Jr.
Some of you may remember Mary Landrieu, the former senator from Louisiana who was such a gung-ho supporter of Obamacare and other socialist schemes. Her continuing support for the current Marxist regime finally cost her the senate seat she had held forever, or so it seemed.
I haven’t kept up with Mary’s daily activities since she departed from the “District of Corruption” so I don’t know what pies she’s got her fingers into now, but you can bet, knowing the socialist mindset, she ain’t sitting home knitting doilies. Neither is her brother, Mitch, the current mayor of New Orleans. It seems that brother Mitch has jumped on the leftist bandwagon in regard to removing Confederate monuments in New Orleans.
So far here in Louisiana we had been spared much of the ethnic cleansing that has been going on in so many other Southern states. I’ve enjoyed watching the pickup trucks in my area with big Confederate Battle Flags on them. I’ve seen more in the past 3 weeks than in the almost thirteen years we’ve been here and there was a big Confederate flag rally over in West Monroe last July 14th. So the sentiments of average folks are for keeping the flag and the monuments.
However, you have to realize that Mayor Mitch and the other socialists in Louisiana are not average folks. Average folks don’t have an agenda. The socialists do–and a large part of that agenda is the wanton destruction of Southern and Christian culture. And you will get that from some of these socialists that even go to church. Church is a good cover for socialists and it fools lots of folks who should know better but don’t. I never forgot the saying from years ago (and it’s still true) “not many preachers become Communists but lots of Communists become preachers.”
At any rate, Mayor Mitch (who knows if Sister Mary is helping or not) has decided that his opening salvo against Confederate heritage will be fired at Lee Circle, one of the oldest monuments now standing in New Orleans. I’ve seen a picture of it and it’s a beautiful monument with General Lee standing at the top.
The Human Relations Commission in New Orleans supposedly makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of age, color, creed, gender identification, gender or sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry…disability, race, religion, and so on. According to a communication from the Sons of Confederate Veterans: “The Human Relations Commission is holding a public hearing to discuss the question of whether to remove Robert E. Lee Statue, PGT Beauregard statue, Battle of Liberty Place monument, Jefferson Davis statue. That will open the door and set a precedence to changing all things Confederate later.” You see, in this case, the Human Relations Commission has chosen to ignore the “national origin/ancestry” part of their charge when it comes to Confederate monuments. All that stuff applies to everyone but white folks it would seem.
The SCV communication continued: “The New Orleans Human Relations Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 6 pm in the City Council Chamber, 1300 Perdido Street on code section 146-611–Removal from public property by request from the New Orleans City Council, evaluation and recommendation: Robert E. Lee statue, PGT Beauregard statue, Battle of Liberty Place monument, Jefferson Davis statue. If you would like to submit a comment, please complete the feedback form below. The comment period will close at 5 pm on Tuesday, August 11. Comments received before 5 pm on August 11 will be included as part of the official public record…When you leave your comments, be polite and Southern. Be sure that you cite discrimination based upon heritage (one of the criteria) The New Orleans Human Rights Laws make it unlawful to discriminate in.”
It would be good if lots of Confederate-minded folks in the New Orleans area could make it to that August 13th hearing because you can bet the farm that the leftists will be there to deep six your Confederate heritage and Christian culture if they can get away with it. Remember–their agenda is your destruction.
by Al Benson Jr.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that with the emerging “Black Lives Matter” Movement the only lives that matter to those people are black lives. All the rest are simply beneath mention because they are not black.
There is even a Black Lives Matter webpage out there and they are not hesitant in the least to tell you what they stand for, which is the typical leftist line. Are you surprised? Their website states, in part: “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled blacks, black undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black Liberation movement.” You have to give those people credit–they tell you right up front where they are at and you, if you are awake at all, can decide whether you want to support what they stand for or not.
Back in 2008 there was commentary on the Free Republic website which stated, again, in part: “Bill Ayers’ Weather Underground were allied with the Black Liberation movement (Rev. Wright’s thing) in an attempted communist overthrow of the US government. This powerful connection is NOT being made by any of the popular conservative commentators. In fact, they are still at it today, only this time they plan to use the election process to achieve the same end.:” And in 2008 that’s exactly what they did, and it worked. We are living with the results today. Do you like them?
So leftist “black liberation” is still alive and well in the “Black Lives Matter” Movement. And thought it may take some folks awhile to figure this out, it really shouldn’t. However, our power of discernment has been so watered down thanks to our public “education” system it’s a wonder we can figure out where the sun comes up anymore.
InfoWars.com posted an article on their website for August 17th about a group of Black Lives Matter people who tried to stop a Confederate flag rally in Broward County, Florida. Around 200 Confederate flag supporters came to Plantation Park for a flag rally and were met there by a vulgar group of Black Lives Matter individuals that attempted to block their way.
The Black Lives Matter group carried all manner of profane signs, some of which read “F–Your Heritage” and “God Hates Flags” among the rest. Interestingly enough, I’ve heard some Christians make the same statement about God hating Confederate flags. I wonder if the Christians who make such statements would feel at home in the Black Lives Matter crowd. Their profanity-laced signs and speech were so gross that I will refrain from further comment except to say that much of what they displayed was lots worse that what I’ve recorded here. That should give you some idea as to the content of their character. Yet how many ignorant and uninformed Christians will stick up for this profane crowd and condemn Confederate flags? Too many unfortunately!
And the InfoWars article further noted: “While asserting that the Confederate Flag represents the justification of violence against black people, some Black Lives Matter protesters were also waving anarcho-communist black and red flags. Communism was responsible for the deaths of around 94 million people in the 20th century alone. There’s a contradiction to be found in there somewhere.” Most definitely, but then, these folks have an agenda to fulfill and so glaring contradictions don’t really matter to them and they hope most folks won’t notice anyhow.
In a recent article on this blogspot I commented that, if you noticed, it always seemed to be that the Black Lives Matter people used red and black paint whenever the defaced a Confederate monument or gravestone. Now you know why. And during their “counter-protest” some of these Black Lives Matter people (you can hardly call them ladies and gentlemen) ended up wiping their ample posteriors with Confederate flags. Some black activists have even offered to defecate on US flags for $6.00 a pop! Anyone naive enough to think that you can sit down and dialogue with people like these is a prime candidate for induction into the Tooth Fairy Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, for all their hate and profanity the Black Lives Matter people will realize, too late, that all they are doing is acting as cannon fodder for the New World Order clique–and for the New World Order people, black lives are just as meaningless as white lives, Hispanic lives, American Indian lives–any lives.
Now it appears that there is a big fuss over the news that one of the leading Black Lives Matter activists is not even black, or at best, only part black. If this is true it may be subtle evidence that the Black Lives Matter Movement is already in the process of being co-opted by the Establishment. And once the Establishment has used it to defend and protect sodomites and trash Confederate symbols and flags it may have outlived its usefulness and may well end up on the trash heap of leftist history.
In the meantime, Confederate and Southern heritage groups must continue to resist the efforts of these leftist “useful idiots” who are being used by the Establishment to trash our faith and culture.
By: Walter Williams
We call the war of 1861 the Civil War. But is that right? A civil war is a struggle between two or more entities trying to take over the central government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis no more sought to take over Washington, D.C., than George Washington sought to take over London in 1776. Both wars, those of 1776 and 1861, were wars of independence. Such a recognition does not require one to sanction the horrors of slavery. We might ask, How much of the war was about slavery?
Was President Abraham Lincoln really for outlawing slavery? Let’s look at his words. In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, “I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists.” In a Springfield, Illinois, speech, he explained: “My declarations upon this subject of Negro slavery may be misrepresented but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects.” Debating Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, “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.”
What about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation? Here are his words: “I view the matter (of slaves’ emancipation) as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.” He also wrote: “I will also concede that emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince them that we are incited by something more than ambition.” When Lincoln first drafted the proclamation, war was going badly for the Union.
London and Paris were considering recognizing the Confederacy and assisting it in its war against the Union.
The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal declaration. It specifically detailed where slaves were to be freed: only in those states “in rebellion against the United States.” Slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion — such as Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and Missouri. The hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation came in for heavy criticism. Lincoln’s own secretary of state, William Seward, sarcastically said, “We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.”
Lincoln did articulate a view of secession that would have been heartily endorsed by the Confederacy: “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. … Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.” Lincoln expressed that view in an 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives, supporting the secession of Texas from Mexico.
Why didn’t Lincoln share the same feelings about Southern secession? Following the money might help with an answer. Throughout most of our nation’s history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859. What “responsible” politician would let that much revenue go?
Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit theCreators Syndicate web page
. Reprinted from LewRockwell.com
Jefferson Davis' First Inaugural Address Alabama Capitol, Montgomery, February 18, 1861
Gentlemen of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, Friends and Fellow-Citizens:
Called to the difficult and responsible station of Chief Executive of the Provisional Government which you have instituted, I approach the discharge of the duties assigned to me with an humble distrust of my abilities, but with a sustaining confidence in the wisdom of those who are to guide and to aid me in the administration of public affairs, and an abiding faith in the virtue and patriotism of the people. Looking forward to the speedy establishment of a permanent government to take the place of this, and which by its greater moral and physical power will be better able to combat with the many difficulties which arise from the conflicting interests of separate nations, I enter upon the duties of the office to which I have been chosen with the hope that the beginning of our career as a Confederacy may not be obstructed by hostile opposition to our enjoyment of the separate existence and independence which we have asserted, and, with the blessing of Providence, intend to maintain. Our present condition, achieved in a manner unprecedented in the history of nations, illustrates the American idea that governments rest upon the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish governments whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established. The declared purpose of the compact of Union from which we have withdrawn was "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity;" and when, in the judgment of the sovereign States now composing this Confederacy, it had been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the ends for which it was established, a peaceful appeal to the ballot-box declared that so far as they were concerned, the government created by that compact should cease to exist. In this they merely asserted a right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 had defined to be inalienable; of the time and occasion for its exercise, they, as sovereigns, were the final judges, each for itself. The impartial and enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct, and He who knows the hearts of men will judge of the sincerity with which we labored to preserve the Government of our fathers in its spirit. The right solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, and which has been affirmed and reaffirmed in the bills of rights of States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789, undeniably recognize in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of government. Thus the sovereign States here represented proceeded to form this Confederacy, and it is by abuse of language that their act has been denominated a revolution. They formed a new alliance, but within each State its government has remained, the rights of person and property have not been disturbed. The agent through whom they communicated with foreign nations is changed, but this does not necessarily interrupt their international relations. Sustained by the consciousness that the transition from the former Union to the present Confederacy has not proceeded from a disregard on our part of just obligations, or any failure to perform every constitutional duty, moved by no interest or passion to invade the rights of others, anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations, if we may not hope to avoid war, we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having needlessly engaged in it. Doubly justified by the absence of wrong on our part, and by wanton aggression on the part of others, there can be no cause to doubt that the courage and patriotism of the people of the Confederate States will be found equal to any measures of defense which honor and security may require. 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 but 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. If, however, passion or the lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency and to maintain, by the final arbitrament of the sword, the position which we have assumed among the nations of the earth. We have entered upon the career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued. Through many years of controversy with our late associates, the Northern States, we have vainly endeavored to secure tranquillity, and to obtain respect for the rights to which we were entitled. As a necessity, not a choice, we have resorted to the remedy of separation; and henceforth our energies must be directed to the conduct of our own affairs, and the perpetuity of the Confederacy which we have formed. If a just perception of mutual interest shall permit us peaceably to pursue our separate political career, my most earnest desire will have been fulfilled. But, if this be denied to us, and the integrity of our territory and jurisdiction be assailed, it will but remain for us, with firm resolve, to appeal to arms and invoke the blessings of Providence on a just cause. As a consequence of our new condition and with a view to meet anticipated wants, it will be necessary to provide for the speedy and efficient organization of branches of the executive department, having special charge of foreign intercourse, finance, military affairs, and the postal service. For purposes of defense, the Confederate States may, under ordinary circumstances, rely mainly upon their militia, but it is deemed advisable, in the present condition of affairs, that there should be a wellinstructed and disciplined army, more numerous than would usually be required on a peace establishment. I also suggest that for the protection of our harbors and commerce on the high seas a navy adapted to those objects will be required. These necessities have doubtless engaged the attention of Congress. With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers in so far as it is explanatory of their wellknown intent, freed from the sectional conflicts which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare, it is not unreasonable to expect that States from which we have recently parted may seek to unite their fortunes with ours under the government which we have instituted. For this your Constitution makes adequate provision; but beyond this, if I mistake not the judgment and will of the people, a reunion with the States from which we have separated is neither practicable nor desirable. To increase the power, develop the resources, and promote the happiness of a confederacy, it is requisite that there should be so much of homogeneity that the welfare of every portion shall be the aim of the whole. Where this does not exist, antagonisms are engendered which must and should result in separation. Actuated solely by the desire to preserve our own rights and promote our own welfare, the separation of the Confederate States has been marked by no aggression upon others and followed by no domestic convulsion. Our industrial pursuits have received no check. The cultivation of our fields has progressed as heretofore, and even should we be involved in war there would be no considerable diminution in the production of the staples which have constituted our exports and in which the commercial world has an interest scarcely less than our own. This common interest of the producer and consumer can only be interrupted by an exterior force which should obstruct its transmission to foreign markets--a course of conduct which would be as unjust toward us as it would be detrimental to manufacturing and commercial interests abroad. Should reason guide the action of the Government from which we have separated, a policy so detrimental to the civilized world, the Northern States included, could not be dictated by even the strongest desire to inflict injury upon us; but otherwise a terrible responsibility will rest upon it, and the suffering of millions will bear testimony to the folly and wickedness of our aggressors. In the meantime there will remain to us, besides the ordinary means before suggested, the well-known resources for retaliation upon the commerce of an enemy. Experience in public stations, of subordinate grade to this which your kindness has conferred, has taught me that care and toil and disappointment are the price of official elevation. You will see many errors to forgive, many deficiencies to tolerate, but you shall not find in me either a want of zeal or fidelity to the cause that is to me highest in hope and of most enduring affection. Your generosity has bestowed upon me an undeserved distinction, one which I neither sought nor desired. Upon the continuance of that sentiment and upon your wisdom and patriotism I rely to direct and support me in the performance of the duty required at my hands. We have changed the constituent parts, but not the system of our Government. The Constitution formed by our fathers is that of these Confederate States, in their exposition of it, and in the judicial construction it has received, we have a light which reveals its true meaning. Thus instructed as to the just interpretation of the instrument, and ever remembering that all offices are but trusts held for the people, and that delegated powers are to be strictly construed, I will hope, by due diligence in the performance of my duties, though I may disappoint your expectations, yet to retain, when retiring, something of the good will and confidence which welcome my entrance into office. It is joyous, in the midst of perilous times, to look around upon a people united in heart, where one purpose of high resolve animates and actuates the whole--where the sacrifices to be made are not weighed in the balance against honor and right and liberty and equality. Obstacles may retard, they cannot long prevent the progress of a movement sanctified by its justice, and sustained by a virtuous people. Reverently let us invoke the God of our fathers to guide and protect us in our efforts to perpetuate the principles which, by his blessing, they were able to vindicate, establish and transmit to their posterity, and with a continuance of His favor, ever gratefully acknowledged, we may hopefully look forward to success, to peace, and to prosperity.
by Al Benson Jr.
The actual history of the War of Northern aggression has always had its detractors who have wanted to make the historical record say what they wanted it to say. The manifestations of their disease have been present in this country since Appomattox and they continue to this day.
Their solution to making the history say what they wish it said is, quite frankly, to lie about it. Just change a few words here and there, a phrase or two someplace else, and you can make the history say what you wish it said but doesn’t. Unfortunately, most folks won’t realize that it doesn’t and they end up buying the same historical swill that has made the Cultural Marxists ideologically sick.
A friend who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma recently took note of how the history is being manipulated so that future generations won’t realize they are being lied to. He is a member of the Confederate Society of America, an organization that tries to present accurate history to Southern folks (and others too) and so he is on the lookout for these egregious breaches of historical truth. He recently came across one in Tulsa which he addressed with a letter.
He said: Dear Southwest Tulsa Chamber, “One of the new historical plaques at Crystal City is making an attempt at rewriting history, and is slandering our brave Confederate dead in the process. The plaque in question refers to the war of 1861-65 as the War of Southern Aggression. The South most assuredly was NOT the aggressor in that needless war, but it was the North that illegally invaded the South, not on any moral issue of freeing the slaves, as is the common myth taught in our schools, but for the continuation of extracting excessive tariffs from the South…We live in a time when cultural terrorists are defacing and removing symbols of our history and culture all across this land. This is no different than the Nazis or ISIS destroying books, history and monuments in an attempt to purge the earth of history. This cultural genocide must not be appeased but must be fought…I respectfully request that the last sentence of the plaque in error be stricken from it.”
You can see, from this gentleman’s letter, how history is changed by changing one little word. Thankfully, the Confederate Society and other Southern and Confederate groups are watching and reporting on what the politically correct (Cultural Marxists) are trying to do with our history. If there were no one out there keeping tabs on them they could, literally, get away with historical murder.
The Cultural Marxists make their biggest gains when there is no one out there to refute what they try to say and do. When they run into resistance from those who know the truth it tends to put a crimp in their agenda. I just read an article yesterday on The Gateway Pundit about a councilman in Anniston, Alabama who thought he could take tinpot dictatorship to a new level. The author, Jim Hoft, noted: “Earlier this month Anniston Alabama Council member David Reddick stopped by Ford’s Barbershop on Leatherwod Road on the western outskirt of Anniston and demanded owner Milton Ford take down the Confederate Battle flag outside his shop. Of course, owner Ford refused. That’s when Reddick started threatening the owner with what he would do to him for flying the Confederate flag at his own business and on his own property.” Mr. Ford, who apparently knew his rights, wasn’t having any of it. He swore out a complaint against the councilman for harassment. Councilman Reddick was arrested. Oh he’s out on bond now and I assume he will have to go to trial.
Reddick is a prime example of tinpot dictatorship run wild, thinking because he may not like the Confederate flag he has the right to tell everyone who has one up, even on private property, to take it down. This is the kind of behavior on the part of “public officials” that needs to be resisted.
And when they manage to coerce people into taking their flags down, what are they replacing them with? Well, in Reno, Nevada this past weekend they took down the Stars and Stripes and replaced it with the LGBT rainbow flag. So you folks that don’t have any problem with taking down Confederate flags better keep your eyes open, too, because the day is coming when they will come for your flag and try to take it down just like you are willing to let them do to ours. I realize they only put that flag up for the weekend, but still, it’s the principle of the thing. When you take the Stars and Stripes down and replace it with that flag you’ve set a precedent–and not a very good one.
Our culture, particularly in the South, is under attack. Unfortunately, most in the North will have no problem with that–until they come for your flags and then it will be a different story.
by Al Benson Jr.
Recently I pulled a book off my bookshelf entitled Embattled Banner written by Don Hinkle. It was originally published in 1997 and went through three printings, the last being, to my knowledge, in 1999. As I browsed through it, I noted that apparently I had never read it before. There was nothing underlined, and no notations for pages marked off at the front of the book. At this point I have no idea where I got it (probably at a conference somewhere) or when.
As I got into it, and it is worth the read if you can still find one, I could see that Mr. Hinkle was dealing with how the religious and political left sought to attack the Confederate battle flag and Confederate symbols in general back in the 1990s. They used the same Marxist “Critical Theory” techniques they are using today. And why not? Because people continue to be ignorant about how they work.
Mr. Hinkle made some interesting observations about what they did back then and I think it behooves us to be aware of and to think about them today.
He noted, on page 163: “Such strategy has been used by anti-flaggers throughout the South ever since the battle flag debate surfaced. In short, their strategy is this: Go in and agitate; get rid of what you can and then pull back; wait for things to calm down, then return and wipe out the rest. It’s doubtful that many Todd countians, (Kentucky) knew about the NAACP resolution and the attacks on Southern heritage sweeping their region. Like most throughout the South, flag supporters were caught off guard and were woefully rusty on the true history of the battle flag and other Confederate symbols.” Hopefully, defenders of Confederate flags and symbols are a little better informed today. However, for those who are not, it still means you have to do a little homework so you will be able to refute the leftist garbage they will try to throw at you.
During this latest Cultural Marxist assault on the South we have seen the beginning of a resistance movement, a backlash if you will. Confederate flag rallies have been held all across the South, over 100 so far, I am told. And, if you are gullible enough to believe the rank propaganda put out by outfits like the Southern Poverty Law Center then you have been told that everyone of them was sponsored by some sort of hate group.
The public, in general, seems to have resisted this latest onslaught fairly well (or you wouldn’t be having all these rallies). The gutless politicians they have elected to office haven’t. In the main, they have folded like a tent in a Montana blizzard, trying to outdo each other as to who can be the most politically correct (Culturally Marxist). And if you live in the real world you have to know that the “news” (and I use that term very loosely) media has zestfully promoted the Marxist line in regard to Confederate symbols.
Seeing that there has been a fair amount of resistance to the latest cultural purge, I am wondering if the Powers That Be, the CFR and the Trilaterals, will start to reign in the leftists and let things quiet down for awhile before they begin their final “Normandy Invasion” of the cultural environment of the South. That would give most Southern folks who have protested this stuff time to calm down, to go back home and to get back into their normal pattern of living again before they make their final push for complete repudiation of anything Confederate or Southern. Once folks have gotten worked up and protested something that is inherently evil, and then gone home to rest and recuperate, it’s hard to get them up and moving again.
This was the same leftist technique that those pushing the rotten public school textbooks in Kanawha County, West Virginia in the mid-1970s used. When the parents’ resolution against the textbooks was really hard and firm, the Powers That Be proposed a “cooling off” period where the questionable texts would be “reviewed” and while this was being done everyone would go home and relax. At the end of the cooling off period, it was a month if I recall correctly, the book “reviewers” came back and said, basically, “nothing wrong with these books they’re just great. Don’t know what the fuss was all about.” And back into the public schools they went! They had succeeded in breaking the protest, for all intents and purposes, because after the “cooling off” period it was almost impossible to get folks concerned enough to do it all over–and they knew that when they proposed it!
I would keep my eyes open for something along that same line with this latest assault on the Confederate flag. If they sense determined resistance to their agenda, they may well pull back until they feel the resistance has begun to wane and then they will return fill blast and as the man said “You won’t have seen nuthin’ yet.”
You have to realize one thing with these anti-Confederate, anti-Southern people–your destruction as a people is a main part of their agenda and they will not ever quit. I don’t believe most Southern folks realize this. Oh, they may retreat here and there (take one step back so they can take two forward later) and you will think they’ve quit–but they haven’t. They will always be back and you have always got to be there to resist them. For them, the War of Northern Aggression will not be over until they have conquered you not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well–and you need to realize this.
by Al Benson Jr.
In recent days I have continued to observe as the theological and political left continues to orchestrate its assault against anything and everything Confederate. Some of their suggestions really swing to the loony side and some of their writers literally froth at the mouth. Their hatred of anything Southern or Confederate is really intense and unremitting. These people are not about to cease and desist. They see, at this point, a very real possibility of destroying Southern and Christian culture in the South and they want to be in for the kill! Most Southern folks don’t begin to grasp this. They need to.
There was an article on http://www.salon.com
on July 10th the headline for which was: “Let’s make the Confederate flag a hate crime: It is the American swastika and we should recoil from its horror.” The author of this loving and compassionate article is a Nick Bromell, who is a professor of American Studies at Massachusetts University at Amhurst. You almost had to know an article with this much anti-Southern vitriol had to originate with a Massachusetts leftist. I checked Professor Bromell out to see where he was coming from (though I already had a pretty good hunch). Turns out he’s pretty close to my age. I would have thought, from his style of writing, that he was a twenty-something frustrated youngster who was venting his angst about the South at the world.
He ended his Salon article with this little tidbit: “Has the age of ‘enmity’ finally ended? Has the ‘malignant spirit’ finally died away? Has the ‘pestilence’ finally abated? The answer to all these questions is ‘no’. The hateful actions of Dylann Roof remind us of that. So do the white supremacist websites Roof found appealing. So do the many Confederate flags displayed in places across the South–and beyond–today, emblazoning T-shirts, affixed to car bumpers, and worn as lapel pins in business suits.” So we supposedly have to get rid of all our flags and symbols because, to this professor and others of his ilk, they represent “hate.” Just so happens that one of Professor Bromell’s areas of study, and the name of a course he has taught, is “Emerson and Du Bois.” Apparently he feels that Emerson the Unitarian and Du Bois the Communist have something in common–and if you grasp the socialist bent of Unitarianism, they probably do .Bromell’s article exhibits the utmost in what many have labeled as “liberal love.”
Problem with the leftists is that what they really want to do is to edit history to make it say what they wish it said. If they can’t do that then they’d like to make sure laws are passed that would allow them to have removed from history the parts they don’t like and to make it a crime for anyone to believe any other version of history than theirs.
In this vein, I also ran across another article, and maybe this one could be considered to come from the loony left. It was about another college professor. It was on a site called Red Alert
and was written by Ryan Girdusky on July 9th. It’s brief. He states:” An assistant college professor claimed on Twitter that all whites have benefitted from slavery and are complicit in that evil institution that was abolished nearly 150 years ago. And when asked what whites should do to remedy this situation, Professor Adam Kotsko said whites must ‘commit mass suicide’.” There was a picture of Professor Kotsko with the article, and he’s as white as I am. One can only assume, given his suggestion, that he will step up and be first in line to do what he has suggested for the rest of us, right? Right? And someone may have suggested that to him because he later claimed that he didn’t really mean it and that no one should have taken him seriously.
It absolutely gives me the shivers to think that people today, in any area of the country, still send their kids blithely off to college to be taught by professors like the two noted in this article. What can you be thinking of to send your kids off to be taught this kind of stuff? This isn’t even high-grade bovine fertilizer!
Folks, it should be starting to be apparent, and we have got to get it though our heads–the religious and political left is at war
with us, our faith, and our culture, and if we keep going on the way we have been, we will hand them the victory by sheer default. They are actively seeking and working to overthrow our entire system of faith and culture (they hate Christianity and even the thought of the old Confederacy), practicing cultural genocide on our entire region, and we are arguing when them about license tags!
We have been fighting a rear-guard action against those people for decades. Maybe it’s time for Christians and Confederates to change their tactics and do a little offensive battle. We’ve been reacting to what they’ve been working to do do us. That’s why the left calls us reactionaries! Could be we need to find ways not to just fight back, but to go on the offensive where we can determine to do that.
It’s interesting that most Southern folks have not yet perceived that most of the vitriol directed against them and their culture has been coming from the left, and from the One World Government crowd (is there any difference between the two?). To put it bluntly, they want us gone. They with want our kids gone or brainwashed out of their minds so they don’t know upside down from inside out. They want our Christian faith trashed and our Southern culture disposed of and they are not ashamed to admit that. And we’re still out there trying to “be nice” to them so that maybe they’ll let us alone! That will never happen. Maybe it’s time we took the gloves off and threw a few punches. The left is not invulnerable. Let’s start trying to find their Achilles heel and seek the Lord’s help when we do. Praying some of the imprecatory psalms might be one good place to begin.
THE WAR OF 1861-1865 (Third Edition, November 21, 1929)
By: LYON GARDINER TYLER;
About the Author: Born: August 24, 1853 Died: February 12, 1935 Noted Educator and Historian. He was the son of President John Tyler and First Lady Julia Gardiner Tyler, born in Virginia. He graduated in 1875 at the University of Virginia. From 1888 to 1919, he served as the seventeenth president of the College of William and Mary (W&M), and is widely credited for restoring the college's financial condition following the deterioration which took place in the wake of the American Civil War.
1. What was the cause of secession in 1861?
It was the fact that the Union consisted from the first two jarring nations having different interests, which were brought to the breaking point in 1861 by the intemperate agitation in the North against everything Southern. The breaking point was nearly reached in 1785 when the North sought to stop the development of the South by giving the Mississippi River to Spain, in 1801 when it attempted the immoral act of turning the presidential ticket upside down and making Aaron Burr President, and in 1833 went it imposed upon the South a high protective tariff for the benefit of Northern manufacturers. The breaking point was finally reached in 1861, when after unmitigated abuse of the South, a strictly Northern President was elected by strictly Northern votes upon a platform which repudiated the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States authorizing Southerners to carry their slaves into the territories. This decision gave no material advantage to slavery, as none of the remaining territorial domain was in any way fit for agriculture, but the Southerners resented the attitude of Lincoln and his party as a challenge to their constitutional rights and as a determination on the part of the North to govern the Union thereafter by virtue of a mere numerical majority. The literature of those times shows that such mutual and mortal hatred existed as, in the language if Jefferson, “to render separation preferable to eternal discord.” The choice was between remaining in such a Union of hate, and seceding. There was no real peace, and the South seceded because it wanted peace and not strife or war.
2. Was slavery the cause of secession or the war?
No. Slavery existed previous to the Constitution, and the Union was formed in spite of it. Both from the standpoint of the Constitution and sound statesmanship, it was not slavery, but the vindictive, intemperate anti-slavery movement that was at the bottom of all the troubles.
3. Was the extension of slavery the purpose of secession?
No. When South Carolina seceded, she had no certainty that any other Southern state would follow her example. By her act she absolutely shut herself out from the territories and thereby limited rather than extended slavery. The same may be said of the other seceding states who joined her.
4. Was Secession the cause of the war?
No. Secession is a mere civil process having non necessary connection with war. Norway seceded from Sweden, and there was no war. The attempted linking of slavery and secession with war is merely an effort to obscure the issue – “a red herring drawn across the trail.” Secession was based (1) upon the natural right of self government, (2) upon the reservation to the States in the Constitution of all powers not expressly granted to the Federal government. Secession was such a power, being expressly excepted in the ratification s of the Constitution by Virginia, Rhode Island and New York. (3) Upon the right of the principal to recall the powers vested in the agent; and upon (4) the inherent nature of all partnerships, which carries with them the right of withdrawal. The States were partners in the Union, and no partnership is irrevocable. The perpetuity spoken of in the Preamble to the Constitution was the expression merely of a hope and wish. No rights of whatever could exist without the right of secession.
5. What then was the cause of the war?
The cause of the war was (1) the rejection of the right of secession by Lincoln, and (2) the denial of self government to 8,000,000 people occupying a territory half the size of Europe. Lincoln himself said of these people that they possessed as much moral sense and as much devotion to law and order as “any other civilized and patriotic people.” Without consulting Congress, Lincoln sent great armies to the South, and it was the war of a President elected by a minority of the people of the North. In the World War, Woodrow Wilson declared that “No people must be forced under sovereignty under which it does not choose to live.” When in 1903, Panama seceded from Colombia, the United States sided with Panama against Colombia in support of Panama’s right to self government.
6. Did the South fight for slavery or the extension of slavery?
No. For had Lincoln not sent armies to the South, that country would have done no fighting at all.
7. Did the South fight for the overthrow of the United States Government?
No. The South fought to establish its own government. Secession did not destroy the Union, but merely reduced its territorial extent. The United States existed when there were only thirteen states, and it would have existed when there were twenty states left. The charge brought by Lincoln that the aim of the Southerners was to overthrow the government was no more true than if King George III had said that the secession of the American colonies from Great Britain had in view the destruction of the British Government. The government of Great Britain was not destroyed by the success of the American States in 1783. Nor would the government of the United States have been destroyed if the Southern states had succeeded in repelling the attacks of the North in 1861-1865.
8. What did the South fight for?
IT FOUGHT TO REPEL INVASION AND FOR SELF GOVERNMENT, JUST AS THE FATHERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION HAD DONE. Lincoln himself confessed at first that he had no constitutional right to make war against a state, so he resorted to the subterfuge of calling for troops to suppress “combi-nations” of persons in the Southern States “too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary” processes. It is impossible to understand how the Southern States could have proceeded in a more regular and formal manner than they did to show they acted a states and not as mere “combinations.” It shows the lack of principle that characterized Lincoln when later he referred to the Southern States as “insurrectionary States.”
9. Did the South in firing on Fort Sumter begin the war?
No. Lincoln began the war by secretly attempting to land troops at Fort Pickens in Florida in violation of a truce existing between the Federals and the Confederates at that place. This was long before Fort Sumter was fired on, and Fort Sumter was fired on only after Lincoln had sent an armed squadron to supply and strengthen that Fort. Even supposing that the action of the Confederates in firing on the Fort was unjustifiable, Lincoln was not bound to treat it as a gauge of battle. He knew that all the Confederates wanted was a fort that commanded the Metropolitan city of Charleston – a fort which had been erected for the defense of that city. He knew that they had no desire to engage in a war with the United States. Not every hostile act justifies war, and in the World War this country submitted to having its flag filled full of holes and scores of its citizens destroyed before it went to war. Lincoln, without any violation of its views of government, had an obvious alternative in putting the question of war up to Congress, where it belonged under the Constitution. But he did not do it and assumed the powers of Congress in making laws and enforcing them as an executive. By his mere authority, he enormously increased the Federal army, blockaded Southern ports, and declared Southern privateersmen to be pirates.
10. Why did Lincoln break the truce at Fort Pickens and precipitate the war by sending troops to Fort Sumter?
Lincoln did not think that war would result by sending troops to Fort Pickens, and it would give him the appearance of asserting the national authority. But he knew that hostilities would certainly ensue if he attempted to reinforce Fort Sumter. He was therefore at first in favor of withdrawing the troops from that Fort, and allowed assurances to that effect to be given out by Seward, his Secretary of State. But the deciding factor with him was the tariff question. In three separate interviews, he asked what would become of his revenue if he allowed the government at Montgomery to go on with their tem percent tariff. Final action was taken when nine Governors of high tariff states waited upon Lincoln and offered him men and supplies. The protective tariff had almost driven the country to war in 1833; it is not surprising that it brought war in 1861. Indeed, this spirit of spoliation was so apparent from the beginning that at the very first Congress, Grayson, one of our two first Virginia Senators, predicted that the fate reserved to the South was to be “the milk cow of the Union.” The New York Times, after having on March 21, 1861, declared for separation, took the ground nine days later that the material interest of the North would not allow of an independent South!
11. Did Lincoln carry on the war for the purpose of freeing the slaves?
No. He frequently denied that this was his purpose in waging war. He claimed that he fought the South in order to preserve the Union. Before the war, Lincoln declared himself in favor of enforcement of the fugitive slave act, and he once figured as an attorney to drag back a runaway Negro into slavery. When he became President he professed himself in his inaugural willing to support an amendment guaranteeing slavery in the states where it existed. Wendell Phillips, the abolitionist, called him a “slave hound.”
12. Did Lincoln, by his conquest of the South, save the Union?
No. The old Union was a union based on consent. The present Union is a great Northern nation based on force and controlled by Northern majorities, to which the South, as a conquered province, has had to conform all its policies and ideals. The Federal authority is only Northern authority. Today the Executive, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, (with one exception), the Ministers at foreign courts are all Northern men. The South has as little share in the government and as little chance of furnishing a President as Norway or Switzerland.
13. Could Lincoln have “saved” the Union by some other method than war?
Yes. If he had given his influence to the resolutions offered in the Senate by John Jay Crittenden, the difficulties in 1861 would have been peaceably settled. These resolutions extended the line of the Missouri Compromise through the territories, but gave nothing to the South, save the abstract right to carry slaves to New Mexico. But New Mexico was too barren for agriculture, and not ten slaves had been carried there in ten years. The resolutions received the approval of the Southern Senators and, had they been submitted to the people, would have received their approval both North and South. Slavery in a short time would have met a peaceful and natural death with the development of machinery consequent upon Cyrus H. McCormick’s great invention of the reaper. The question in 1861 with the South as to the territories was one of wounded pride rather than any material advantage. It was the intemperate, arrogant and self righteous attitude of Lincoln and his party that made any peaceable constructive solution of the territorial question impossible. In rejecting the Crittenden resolutions, Lincoln, a minority president, and the Republicans, a minority party, placed themselves on record as virtually preferring the slaughter of 400,000 men of the flower of the land and the sacrifice of billions of dollars of property to a compromise involving a mere abstraction, and they intrigued an unwilling North into the war. Some historians have actually boasted of the trickery.
14. Does any present or future prosperity of the South justify the War of 1861- 1865?
No. No present or future prosperity can make a past wrong right, for the end can never justify the means. The war was a colossal crime, and the most astounding case of self stultification on the part of any government recorded in history.
15. Had the South gained its independence, would it have proved a failure?
No. General Grant has said in his Memoirs that it would have established “a real and respected nation.” The states of the South would have been bound together by fear of the great Northern Republic and by a similarity of economic conditions. They would have had laws suited to their own circumstances, and developed accordingly. They would not have lived under Northern laws and had to conform their policy to them, and they have been compelled to do. A low tariff would have attracted the trade of the world to the South, and its cities would have become great and important centers of commerce. A fear of this prosperity induced Lincoln to make war upon the South. The Southern Confederacy, instead of being a failure, would have been a great outstanding figure in the affairs of the world.
16. Were the Southerners “rebels” in seceding from the Union?
The term “rebel” had no application to the Southern people, however much it applied to the American colonists. The latter called themselves “Patriots” not rebels. Both Southerners in 1861 and Americans in 1776 acted under the authority of their State governments. But while the colonies were mere departments of the British Union, the American States were creators of the Federal Union. The Federal government was the agent of the states for the purposes expressed in the Constitution, and it is absurd to say that the principal can rebel against the agent. President Jackson threatened war with South Carolina in 1833, but admitted that in such an event South Carolinians taken prisoners would not be “rebels” but prisoners of war. The Freesoilers in Kansas and John Brown at Harpers Ferry were undoubtedly “rebels” for they acted without any lawful authority whatever in using force against the Federal Government, and Lincoln and the Republican Party, in approving a platform which sympathized with the Freesoilers and bitterly denounced the Federal Government, were rebels and traitors at heart.
17. Did the South, as alleged by Lincoln in his messages and in his Gettysburg address, fight to destroy popular government throughout the world?
No. This charge was absurd. Had the South succeeded, the United States would still have enjoyed all its liberties, and so would Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and all other peoples. The danger to popular government came from Lincoln himself. In conducting the war, Lincoln talked about “democracy” and “the plain people,” but adopted the rules of despotism and autocracy, and under the fiction of “war powers” virtually abrogated the Constitution, which he had sworn to support.
18. Was Lincoln’s proclamation freeing the slaves worthy of the praise which it has received?
No. His proclamation was a war measure merely. He had no humanitarian purpose in view, and only ten days before its issuance he declared that “the possible consequences of insurrection and massacre in the Southern States” would not deter him from its use, whenever he should deem it necessary for military purposes. (Nicolay and Hay, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, II, p.235) In his second inaugural message, while professing “malice to none and charity to all,” he slandered the South by describing the slave owner as an incarnate demon, who did nothing but lash his slaves, without giving the least requital for their service of 250 years! The Negroes were the most spoiled domestics in the world. The Southerners took the Negro as a barbarian an cannibal, civilized him, supported him, clothed him, and turned him out a devout Christian. Booker T. Washington admitted that the Negro was the beneficiary rather than the victim of slavery.
19. Would Lincoln have saved the South from the horrors of Reconstruction if he had survived the war?
No. Lincoln had shown no kindness to the South while he lived, and there is no reason to suppose that he would have done so had he survived the war. His war violated every law of humanity, and instead of offering pardon to everyone who would submit, as the British General Howe had done in his amnesty proclamation of November 30, 1776, Lincoln in his amnesty proclamation of December 8, 1863, excepted from the benefits of his proclamation everybody in the South of any leading intelligence. It is absurd to ascribe Andrew Johnson’s policy of Reconstruction to Lincoln, for Lincoln in his proclamation of July 8, 1864, professed that he was not bound up to any fixed plan whatever. The closest companion of Lincoln and the mastermind of this Cabinet was Edwin M. Stanton, who hated the South and all that concerned it. President Johnson, to his credit, drove him from is Cabinet. Lincoln’s reputation for kindness is based upon a number of trivial incidents and on his knack of juggling with words and using rhetoric to cover his absurd and often times outrageous statements by a jingle of sentences. He repeatedly backed down before his cabinet and had little of the backbone of his successor, Andrew Johnson.
20. Is there any truth in the statement that the South seceded from the Union because it saw itself menaced with the loss of the rule which it had enjoyed from the beginning?
None whatever. The Southerners never ruled the Union in any real sense. They controlled the executive department, but this department was confined to giving directions to the foreign relations and to executing the laws made by congress. And this body, the lawmaking – the real ruler – was managed by the North from the very start. With the aid of a few delinquent Southern votes, the North could always count upon a majority in Congress. The revenue was chiefly levied on the products of the South, and was mainly disbursed in the North. Never once did the South use the machinery of the Federal Government to enrich herself at the expense of the North. The funding of the National debt, the assumption of the State debts, the bounties for shipping, tonnage duties, bounties for the fishermen, the restrictions on foreign trade, the National bank, the tariff, the pensions, land grants, internal improvement, etc., were all in interest of the North. And this one-sided development remains today exactly like it was of old. The South is still “the milk cow of the Union".
By: David Dieteman
Editors note: A few minor edits have been made without effecting the work of the essayist.
Lincoln becomes the American solar myth, the chief butt of American credulity and sentimentality...the varnishes and veneers have been busily converting Abe into a plaster saint...Worse, there is an obvious effort to pump all his human weaknesses out of him, and so leave him a mere moral apparition, a sort of amalgam of John Wesley and the Holy Ghost. What could be more absurd? Lincoln, in point of fact, was a practical politician of long experience and high talents, and by no means cursed with idealistic superstitions...his career in the State Legislature was indistinguishable from that of a Tammany Nietzsche.
~ H.L. Mencken, "Abraham Lincoln," The Smart Set, May 1920.
Reprinted in A Mencken Chrestomathy, pp 221-23.
Ken Masugi, director of the Claremont Institute's Center for Local Government, writes in Claremont Institute Precepts No. 267 that "Long-time fans of Rush Limbaugh's provocative radio show experienced a shock in a recent program that focused on Abraham Lincoln."
It turns out that Limbaugh was surprised to hear his callers criticize Abe Lincoln as responsible for the growth of federal power, a racist, and indifferent to the plight of the slaves.
The discussion, Masugi notes, grew out of advance qualms over Steven "fundraiser to the Clintons" Spielberg's forthcoming movie on Lincoln. As Masugi observes, the film will allegedly "portray [Lincoln] as a weakling, a racist, and a failure at the presidency."
Limbaugh and Spielberg aside, what's the truth about Abraham Lincoln? And what's the truth about the Confederate States of America and the South?
Allow me to suggest that the truth is quite far from the conventional wisdom. Allow me also to suggest, as indicated by Masugi's article, that the otherwise praiseworthy Claremont Institute goes too far in its adulation of Lincoln.
The Claremont Institute is "otherwise praiseworthy" because, for example, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and the Claremont's Center for the Study of the Natural Law appear to do good things. Also, Mark Helprin (a very good contemporary novelist, and therefore a rare breed; A Soldier of the Great War is well worth reading) and Hadley Arkes (a natural law theorist whose works I have found insightful) are at Claremont. This article should not be interpreted as anything other that what it is: a criticism of the Claremont Institute's treatment of Abraham Lincoln and the issue of secession.
The Claremont Institute's devotion to Lincoln appears deep and widespread. The Institute provides "Abraham Lincoln Fellowships in Constitutional Government" and the Institute's Salvatori Center for the American Constitution has published a plethora of essays praising Lincoln and attacking the right of secession.
As a preliminary matter, it is a general problem with the Claremont writers — including not only Masugi, but Harry Jaffa — that they assume as a given the conclusion which they purport to prove. If the question of the day is whether Abe Lincoln is justified or unjustified, praiseworthy or blameworthy, for his actions from 1860-1865, then Lincoln's own words are not sufficient evidence to acquit Lincoln.
If, in defense of Lincoln, one can call no witnesses but Lincoln, the case for the prosecution looks very strong indeed.
Additionally, in order to judge Lincoln, one needs a standard by which to judge the praiseworthy or blameworthy nature of his actions.
One possible standard by which to judge Lincoln's actions is provided by a great theorist of republican government well-known to Americans in 1861 and 2001: Montesquieu.
Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, is noted by its translator, David Lowenthal, as perhaps the least well known of Montesquieu's three works. Despite this fact, Lowenthal adds, the book "may have been the first (and certainly was one of the first) of all efforts to comprehend the whole span of Roman history, and among such efforts it still has few if any peers." (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1999; originally published by The Free Press, 1965. p 1). Lowenthal also writes that
It was probably one of the works Gibbon had in mind in his Memoirs when he wrote: "but my delight was in the frequent perusal of Montesquieu, whose energy of style, and boldness of hypothesis, were powerful to awaken and stimulate the genius of his age...it is one of the few instances when a philosopher has undertaken an extended analysis of any particular society, let alone of its entire history. The only comparable thing on Rome is Machiavelli's Discourses, to which it bears a deep inner kinship." (p 1)
In other words, Montesquieu's Considerations is an important work by an important political thinker.
What standard may one find in Montesquieu in order to judge the actions of Abraham Lincoln? In particular, Montesquieu makes the following observation about the nature of free states:
What makes free states last a shorter time than others is that both the misfortunes and the successes they encounter almost always cause them to lose their freedom. In a state where the people are held in subjection, however, successes and misfortunes alike confirm their servitude. A wise republic should hazard nothing that exposes it to either good or bad fortune. The only good to which it should aspire is the perpetuation of its condition [i.e., its condition as a free state, i.e. its freedom]. (p 92)
The reason for the limited life spans of free republics is the fact that crises and governmental actions — most especially wars — tend to grow the state at the expense of society. Calls for government action are necessarily calls for government power, and governments are not known for their fondness for giving up acquired powers.
The standard by which to judge Lincoln's actions, then, if one is concerned with the nature of America as a free state, is not whether Lincoln abolished slavery or fulfilled the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, but whether he preserved the free condition of the United States.
Two claims made by Ken Masugi, in his various pieces on Lincoln, stand out as problematic:
"Confederate heritage groups and civil rights groups, who disagree so bitterly about which monument should stand or who was...a hero, actually share major premises about the Civil War...Both sides agree on the prevalent view of American history, debunking Lincoln."
"The freedom to secede from the Union was equivalent to either anarchy or tyranny, both denials of government by consent."
With respect to the notion that the South denied "government by consent," the great H.L. Mencken ably shredded this notion in his famous critique of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
....it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. 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 the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision of the rest of the country — and for nearly twenty years that veto was so efficient that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.
Mencken's piece was originally published in The Smart Set, May 1920. This was a mere 55 years after the end of the War Between the States. Think of it like a book published today discussing the Korean War. The war was still that recent when Mencken wrote. Reconstruction was even more recent. It had ended only 40 years before Mencken wrote. Think of it like a writer today discussing the Cuban missile crisis.
Worse, as Charles Adams notes in When in the Course of Human Events, Lincoln improperly dated American history in the Gettysburg Address:
To be accurate, Lincoln should have said "four score and two years ago," or better still, "three score and fourteen years ago." Even the Northern newspapers winced. The New York World sharply criticized this historical folly. "This United States" was not created by the Declaration of Independence but "the result of the ratification of a compact known as the Constitution." (194)
Lincoln simply spoke as if the Articles of Confederation had never existed.
Masugi, like Harry Jaffa, contends that "the Civil War was fought over the American proposition first proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence — that all men are created equal." As a necessary corollary of this claim, Masugi contends that the Confederate view holds that the Declaration of Independence did not include slaves or their descendants and that it provides no guidance for how we Americans were supposed to govern ourselves. The phrase "all men are created equal" was not intended to affirm universal freedom and rights; the whole document was simply a good-bye to Great Britain. Therefore, the Civil War could not have been fundamentally about slavery.
Similarly, in "A Lincoln for all Time — and Our Time," Masugi writes that "the central idea of secession" involved a rejection of the eternal higher law of the Declaration of Independence, "the laws of nature and of nature's God" and the equality of rights that underlies the Constitution....The true heirs of the Confederacy no longer wear gray — unless in a suit — but they share the Confederates' rejection of a moral truth transcending historical evolution. These latter-day rebels now dominate our universities, foundation boards, and other unelected positions of power. For these post-modern elites the very idea of constitutional government is an unwanted encumbrance on their appetites.
Masgui and Jaffa, then, contend that one part of the Declaration of Independence — "all men are created equal" — absolutely trumps another part — "governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed." Masugi attempts to eliminate the turning of the Declaration against itself by arguing that the South really sought to destroy government by consent. As Mencken noted, however, this claim is false: it was the South which fought for self-determination.
It also must be noted that someone forgot to tell Ven. Pope Pius IX about the Southern rejection of "the eternal higher law," as the Pope thought enough of the post-war persecution of Jefferson Davis to send the imprisoned Davis a crown of thorns — made by the Pope himself. As Gary Potter wonders,
Why did this pope who is a Venerable of the Church — the very one who promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, published to the world the famous Syllabus of Errors, and presided over the Vatican Council that solemnly defined the dogma of papal infallibility — seek to comfort Davis, who was not a Catholic?
Potter speculates that Pius IX may have taken an interest in Davis because of the many prominent Catholic families in the South, and because of the receptivity to Catholicism which characterized Southern culture. Perhaps more significantly, Pius IX himself had experienced the opposition of secessionist and nationalist movements as leader of the Papal States.
Pius IX, you see, was pope from 1846-78 (the longest pontificate in the history of the papacy), during which time Italy underwent the political transformation from disunited states to a centralized, national government. In 1848, because the Pope would not bring the Papal States to war with Catholic Austria, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the pope was denounced as a traitor to his country, his prime minister Rossi was stabbed to death while ascending the steps of the Cancelleria, whither he had gone to open the parliament, and on the following day the pope himself was besieged in the Quirinal. Palma, a papal prelate, who was standing at a window, was shot, and the pope was forced to promise a democratic ministry. With the assistance of the Bavarian ambassador, Count Spaur, and the French ambassador, Duc d'Harcourt, Pius IX escaped from the Quirinal in disguise, 24 November, and flet to Gaeta where he was joined by many of the cardinals. Meanwhile Rome was ruled by traitors and adventurers who abolished the temporal power of the pope, 9 February, 1849, and under the name of a democratic republic terrorized the people and committed untold outrages.
The Catholic Encyclopedia also notes that the doom of [Pius IX's] temporal power was sealed, when [in 1858] Cavour and Napoleon III met at Plombieres, concerting plans for a combined war against Austria and the subsequent territorial extension of the Sardinian Kingdom. They sent their agents into various cities of the Papal States to propagate the idea of a politically united Italy. The defeat of Austria at Magenta on 4 July, 1859, and the subsequent withdrawal of the Austrian troops from the papal legations, inaugurated the dissolution of the Papal States. The insurrection in some of the cities of the Romagna was put forth as a plea for annexing the provinces to the Piedmont in September, 1859. On 6 February, 1860, Victor Emmanuel demanded the annexation of Umbria and the Marches and, when Pius IX resisted this unjust demand, made ready to annex them by force.
Sound familiar? Perhaps Pope Pius IX sympathized with Jefferson Davis as a fellow victim of nationalist fervor.
(In 1853, by the way, Pius IX established my diocese — the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania. During his pontificate, he also established nearly 20 other American dioceses, including Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Savannah, Brooklyn, Newark, Green Bay, Rochester, Scranton, San Antonio, and Providence).
Returning to Masugi's contentions, someone also forgot to tell the great Roman Catholic scholar, Lord Acton, about the South's "rejection of the eternal higher law." Acton famously wrote to Robert E. Lee:
"I saw in States Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy.... I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo."
(As an aside, Acton did not agree with Pius IX on the issue of Papal infallibility. Acton, however, dutifully shut his mouth and did not defy the Pope after the dogma was promulgated. Yet Acton and Pius IX agreed on their support for the CSA).
Someone also forgot to tell Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson about the evil of his cause. As related by James I. Robertson, Jr., after the battle of First Manassas (Bull Run to the Yankees), Jackson sent a letter home:
A crowd eager for news of the battle thronged the town post office when the mail arrived. Dr. William S. White immediately recognized Jackson's scrawl on the letter handed him. The minister cried out, "Now we shall know all the facts!" A hush settled over the townspeople. White then read the letter. "My dear pastor, in my tent last night, after a fatiguing day's service, I remembered that I had failed to send you my contribution for our colored Sunday school. Enclosed you will find a check for that object, which please acknowledge at your earliest convenience, and oblige yours faithfully, T.J. Jackson." (Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, p 271)
Also, if Masugi is correct, how does one explain the presence of "Deo Vindice" (Latin for "God as our Defender" on the Great Seal of the Confederacy?
Additionally, Masugi assumes that "the equality of rights that underlies the Constitution" which exists in 2001 is the same "equality of rights" underlying the Constitution as seen in 1861. Not so. This is not to argue that the Constitution is a "living document;" such a view, as I have previously written, is indefensible. This is to argue, however, that Masugi's view of the Constitution is very much a product of the way things happened to turn out in the 140 years since the Civil War began; his view of the Constitution was not in play at the time of the war.
Further, Masugi is incorrect in characterizing those persons who "dominate our universities, foundation boards, and other unelected positions of power" as inheritors of the Confederate tradition. Rather, these Marxist and post-modernist types are precisely those types whom the Confederacy opposed. There is nothing post-modern about the League of the South, for example, while the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Public Welfare, and other such groups have long lobbied for the expansion of the central state.
The Ford Foundation (1952-53) and Rockefeller Foundation (1956-57), it must be noted, sponsored Harry Jaffa's research for Crisis of the House Divided; Jaffa thanks them for their funding in the book. One is forced to wonder what foundations Masugi has in mind, unless the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations have changed radically since the 1950s.
If these foundations have changed since that time, they're keeping it a secret. The Rockefeller Foundation, for example, bills its "Louder than Words" report as follows: "Racial justice work is a central component of the Rockefeller Foundation's efforts to broaden economic and social opportunity in the United States." The Ford Foundation report "Common Needs, Common Ground" also does not appear to be the work of people who deny any higher laws about equality.
Indeed, attributing the insight to his reading of Jaffa's new book (ably criticized by Joseph Sobran and Myles Kantor), Masugi goes so far as to explicitly label Bill Clinton as a "true heir of the Confederacy:"
It is plain from Jaffa's New Birth of Freedom that today's most prominent representative of the abiding message of the Confederacy is not some Civil War re-enactor and certainly not Attorney General John Ashcroft but rather the sort who dispute "what the meaning of is is."
Civil War re-enactors and the readers of Southern Partisan, which famously interviewed John Ashcroft, might be surprised to learn that Clinton is their true role model.
Ignored by Masugi is Ashcroft's praise for the Southern cause; the lecherous Clinton has no such respect for the South. Of course, if you are out to demonize the South, it is better to ignore Ashcroft than confront his actual views. It is also better to ignore the fact that, like Bill Clinton's top contributors, Lincoln was a trial lawyer, and that, like Clinton, Lincoln demonized opponents of his policies. As Clinton once blamed "right wing talk radio" for Timothy McVeigh's act of mass murder,
To doubt the president's wisdom — to question his decision for war — was treason. Lincoln's logic became holy writ on stone tablets for the faithful. There were only two classes of citizens — those who followed the president's line and traitors. (When in the Course of Human Events, p 211)
Thus, under Lincoln, the alleged defender of American liberty, military authorities soon began imprisoning prominent secessionists without trial. The writ of habeas corpus was a constitutional safeguard to prevent such imprisonments without sufficient legal cause, and one of the incarcerated Marylanders, John Merryman, attempted an appeal on that basis. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, sitting as a circuit judge, ordered Merryman released, but federal officials, acting under Lincoln's orders, refused. The aging Chief Justice, just three years from death's door, thereupon issued a blistering opinion holding that only Congress had the constitutional right to suspend habeas corpus. The President "certainly does not faithfully execute the laws, if he takes upon himself legislative power, by suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and the judicial power also, by arresting and imprisoning a person without due process of law," declared Taney. If Lincoln's action was allowed to stand, then "the people of the United States are no longer living under a Government of laws, but every citizen holds life, liberty and property at the will and pleasure of the army officer in whose military district he may happen to be found."
Lincoln simply ignored Taney's opinion. He also wrote out standing orders for the Chief Justice's arrest, although these were never served. (Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men, p 142)
Shortly after Taney's opinion was issued, Lincoln arrested 31 Maryland legislators, the mayor of Baltimore (the nation's 3rd largest city at the time), a U.S. Congressman from Maryland, and anti-war publishers and editors. (Hummel 143).
It may be recalled that the Clinton administration exhibited a Lincolnian contempt for the law by instructing federal agencies to ignore rulings from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, as if only the United States Supreme Court were competent to declare the meaning of federal law.
It should be noted at this point that it is no defense for Lincoln that the CSA also violated civil liberties during the war. Mark Neely, who has documented Lincoln's abuse of civil liberties in The Fate of Liberty, treats this fact not only as a shocking revelation, but as a vindication of Lincoln's acts in his later book, Southern Rights: Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism. If the CSA also violated civil liberties, the argument goes, then those who justify secession cannot hold similar violations against Lincoln, nor can they claim that the CSA stood for constitutional government.
This argument completely misses the point of bringing Lincoln's record to light: the South is already demonized, while Lincoln is lionized in part because his abuse of civil liberties is not widely known.
Tibor Machan, in "Rethinking the Civil War," describes how he changed his view of the civl war over time. As part of this account, Machan mentions his surprise at learning of Lincoln's disregard for civil liberties. The reason this surprised Machan, he states, is that this fact of Lincoln's reign did not fit with the established mythology he had been fed in the public schools.
More significantly, Hummel points out that the restrictions of civil liberties in the CSA contributed to the failure of the southern drive for independence. Contrary to Neely's provocative subtitle, it is precisely because Southerners were fighting to defend constitutional government that abuses of civil liberties by the CSA so demoralized the South.
The Southern military situation in 1865, Hummel contends, was far from being an unequivocal Union victory. In fact, it was closer to the situation facing George Washington's Continental Army at Valley Forge in 1778, when the British held the American capital of Philadelphia (p 282). Rather than persevere like George Washington, the "never surrender" South surrendered in part because the centralization of power in Richmond subverted the war aim of preserving constitutional order. Hummel adds another little discussed explanation for the surrender: the deeply religious South began to believe that their sufferings were the result of the sin of slavery. "By the war's second year, a significant movement within southern churches was agitating for such reforms as prohibiting the separation of slave children from their mothers, admitting slave testimony in courts, and permitting slave religious assemblies." (p 283)
Pace Ken Masugi and the Claremont Institute, Sheldon Vanauken — a noted Catholic scholar, and a friend and student of another noted denier of "higher laws," C.S. Lewis — points out the true cause of the war while laying the blame for the moral degeneracy of contemporary civilization at the feet of Honest Abe:
The states of the deep South dissolved their connection with the voluntary union of the United States with marked legality at the beginning of 1861. For a quarter of a year no one knew that there was to be a war. Then Lincoln (unauthorised by the Constitution) called for troops; and the upper South, led by Virginia, seceded. War was Lincoln's choice. The point is, Lincoln could have chosen to let the South go in peace on the grounds that just government depends on the consent of the governed, and the Southern states had withdrawn that consent. But, said the North, the majority do consent, since there are more people in the North. Even if most of the people in the South do not consent, we in the North are the majority of the whole nation...This is precisely what de Tocqueville warned against: the tyranny of the majority.
The America of today is the America that won that immense triumph in the war — the triumph of unlimited, equalitarian democracy. And its leaders have blurred the distinction between freedom and equality to the point where many people use those words as virtually interchangeable terms. ‘Freedom from want' implying every man's equal right to food may indeed be a right but it is not freedom; it is his freedom, though, to take action to improve his needy state. What most people are unaware of is that freedom and equality, though revolutionaries may shout of both, are uneasy bedfellows and, in fact, often opposed, each tending to limit the other. Nearly every law designed to bring about greater equality, as so many of the laws of the late-twentieth century do intend, limits freedom. The freedom of the bright student to learn swiftly is limited by equalitarian schools for the average.
The Southern nation, after a brief, intense, and heroic existence, was defeated, and then, as a conquered province, was subjected to the demeaning brutalities of ‘Reconstruction' and subsequently to economic discrimination. (The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy, pp 142-43)
But there is no need to take Sheldon Vanauken's word for it: Lincoln's own Attorney General agrees:
The long war had contributed to a breakdown everywhere both in prevailing ehtical norms and in the distinction between public and private spheres. "The demoralising effect of this civil war," wrote Edward Bates, Lincoln's first Attorney General, "is plainly visible in every department of life. The abuse of official powers and the thirst for dishonest gain are now so common that they cease to shock." The same Congress that passed the Fourteenth Amendment also, without a second thought, voted itself a hefty pay raise, and the flagrancy of a subsequent salary grab in 1873 shamed Congress into repealing it. The Grant era became so notorious for its political bribery that it has gone down in history as the Great Barbecue. In the words of a Carpetbag governor of Louisiana: "I don't pretend to be honest. I only pretend to be as honest as anybody in politics....Why, damn it, everybody is demoralizing down here. Corruption is the fashion." (Hummel 314)
Lincoln, then, and not the Confederate States of America, has a greater guilt for the ensuing moral degeneracy of American culture, if guilt is to be apportioned between them (one must be careful not to venture into determinism).
Noted Civil War historian James McPherson also contends that Abe Lincoln is properly seen as having expanded the government: "This astonishing blitz of laws...did more to reshape the relation of the government to the economy than any comparable effort except perhaps the first hundred days of the New Deal." (Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, p. 40, cited in James Ostrowski, "Was the Union Army's Invasion of the Confederate States A Lawful Act?," Chapter 8 of Secession, State and Liberty, ed. David Gordon, p. 156).
Finally, Masugi simply cannot come up with high enough praise for Harry Jaffa's most recent book, A New Birth of Freedom:
Amidst the changes following a bitter, disputed election, Americans must wonder whether there is any truth besides cynical truth in politics....Fortunately, this Lincoln's birthday we have a means of assessing all the partisan claims in light of our greatest political figure. Harry V. Jaffa's long-awaited A New Birth of Freedom enables us to separate superficialities from the substance and rediscover who we are as Americans.
First, there is no truth besides cynical truth in politics. The emperor has no clothes. You are better off not deceiving yourself. Second, even if Jaffa's book is the greatest book written since the Bible, Masugi's claim is untenable. The notion of "who we are as Americans" is not likely to be contained in any single book, let alone an extended reflection on the Gettysburg Address.
Worse, Jaffa and Masugi's view of "who we are as Americans" appears to be defined by reference to the victorious Northern view of the war and what it means to be an American. Such a view is necessarily skewed.
In Conversations with Shelby Foote, the esteemed novelist and historian makes the point that the Confederates were just as much Americans as the Northerners, a point which appears too frequently lost on Yankees. As Foote relates in an interview with William C. Carter,
[Carter:] Some of the French critics say that you are persuaded of the long-term failure of the American adventure. Would you elaborate on that interpretation, if you agree with it?
[Foote:] I do agree with it, and I think it's an advantage that the Southern artist has, whether it's in music or sculpture or painting or writing. I'm often amazed to hear the frequent quote, "We Americans have never lost a war." You hear it all the time: "Never lost a war" — at least you heard it before Vietnam. I know some Americans who certainly lost a war — lost it about as thoroughly as a war can be lost, and afterwards got ground into the dirt harder than most any losers I know — and they lived in the South. That gave us, by inheritance, a true sense of tragedy. We do not believe that all noble experiments are bound to succeed. We know at least one noble experiment that failed miserably. We don't have the bright outlook that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, because our history taught us differently.
And while the war was not always in the forefront of our consciousness, it operated very strongly in our unconscious and on our manners and our morals. For instance, Vicksburg fell on the fourth day of July. The Fourth of July throughout my childhood and young manhood was never celebrated in Mississippi. One year a couple was there from Ohio — why they were there I do not know — and they drove their car up on the levee, spread out their blanket, and had a picnic on the levee to celebrate the Fourth. They forgot to set the brakes of the car properly and it rolled down the levee and into the river; everybody said it served them right for celebrating the Fourth.
But this true sense of tragedy on a large scale is a very Southern heritage, whereas for a Northerner it's a true sense of triumph. Northerners believe that all the virtues conquered because they are now the virtues, but Southerners don't believe that virtue necessarily conquers because we believe strongly in the virtues of our forbears. We don't believe that government of and by and for the people would have perished from the earth if the South had won the war, although we are required to memorize those very words in school. It's very strange what power there is in literary skill. We memorize Lincoln's Gettysburg Address because he phrased it so well; we don't even hear what it's saying. (261-62)
Realistically, what would the North have the South do? Forget the grandfathers, fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons who died, or the mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters who were raped by the invading forces of the United States?
Is that realistic, or is it just downright offensive? For the record, Adams contends that "The slaughter of Confederate men only matched, on a proportional basis, the losses incurred by the Russians and the Germans in World War II." (When in the Course of Human Events, p 195). Hummel notes that the losses of the CSA are close to those suffered by the French in World War I, but slightly less than suffered by the Germans in World War II (p 282). For the sake of perspective, it should be noted that half of the male babies born in France in 1900 died in World War I.
Ultimately, Foote may be correct about the failure of the American adventure. Forrest McDonald notes in States' Rights and the Union that
Patriots of all stripes accepted the primacy of the states as a fact of political life, but they were far from unanimously happy about it...Nationally oriented groups in the middle states and lower South tended to be aristocrats (Hudson Valley patroons in New York, rice plantation families in the lower South) or wealthy merchants in Philadelphia who regarded states' rights republicans as radical democrats posing a genuine threat to social and political stability...The two groups had hardened into factions in Congress before the end of 1776, and their enmity and mutual distrust continued after the war. (pp 11-12)
In fact, the "enmity and mutual distrust" continued into the Alien and Sedition Acts, then into the War of 1812, and ultimately into the War for Southern Independence; it continues to this day in the struggle between those who want "more freedom, less government" and those who thirst for unlimited government.
More importantly, it must be made explicit that within five months of the Declaration of Independence, those Americans, or, rather, those British subjects living in Britain's American colonies, who had joined together to gain independence from Britain (i.e., to secede), were drifting toward disunion because they did not share substantive notions of political philosophy. Although the colonists were able to unite in their desire to be free of English oppression, they were not able to unite in their desires for shaping the new American nation.
As other writers have argued, the philosophical divide between the North and South may be traced to the divide between Massachusetts Puritans and Virginia planters, and back to the divisions in England between Cavaliers and Roundheads (Cromwell's Puritans).
The history of American differences in political philosophy aside, the Northern view of the war glosses over or mishandles important questions about secession and the Northern conduct of the war.
First, the disenfranchisement of Southerners who had supported the Confederacy, and the attendant "loyalty oaths" which were imposed upon them, come very close to an inquisition. As the Northern abolitionist Lysander Spooner wrote of the oaths,
On general principles of law and reason, all the oaths which, since the war, have been given by Southern men, that they will obey the laws of Congress, support the Union, and the like, are of no validity. Such oaths are invalid, not only because they were extorted by military power, and threats of confiscation...they are in contravention of men's natural right to do as they please about supporting the government
Loyalty oaths have become anathema in the United States, in part because they were used against Communists. And yet it is apparently laudable that the North imposed such oaths.
Second, despite Abraham Lincoln's flaming lie that "the Union is older than the states" — which makes as much sense as the claim that "my marriage is older than my wife and I" — Article One of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783, which ended the American War of Independence, states that
His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.
In international law, a "state" is an entity that has 1) a defined territory and 2) a permanent population, 3) under control of its own government, 4) that engages in, or has capacity to engage in, formal relations with such other entities. The American colonies, then, were "states," just like France is a "state."
Statehood is also founded on the recognition of a state by other sovereign states. Pope Pius IX, head of the Papal States, consistently addressed Jefferson Davis as the President of the CSA.
These standards of international law have been adopted by the United States. They are not standards which the United States refuses to recognize. Thus, the American states, for purposes of international law, even if they did not meet the four criteria already, came to be sovereign nations when they were recognized by England. And, as a matter of international law, the CSA was a "state" as well. It had 1) territory, 2) population, 3) control by its government, and 4) it engaged in formal relations with other states, e.g. the Papal States.
The federal courts took contradictory approaches to secession. James Ostrowski points out that:
In Coleman v. Tennessee, the Supreme Court held military occupation lawful, not on constitutional grounds, but by resorting to international law principles...Thus, to justify the otherwise unconstitutional military occupation of a state, the Supreme Court treats that state as if it were an independent nation, implicitly recognizing the validity of its secession. (174).
And yet in Virginia v. West Virginia (1870), the syllabus preceding the case declares that
A convention professing to represent the State of Virginia, which assembled in Richmond in February, 1861, attempted by a so-called ‘ordinance of secession' to separate that State from the Union, and combined with certain other Southern States to accomplish that separation by arms. The people of the northwestern part of the State, who were separated from the eastern part by a succession of mountain ranges and had never received the heresy of secession, refused to acquiesce in what had been thus done, and organized themselves to defend and maintain the Federal Union. The idea of a separate State government soon developed itself; and an organic convention of the State of Virginia, which in June, 1861, organized the State on loyal principles-‘the Pierpont government'- and which new organization was acknowledged by the President and Congress of the United States as the true State government of Virginia-passed August 20th, 1861, an ordinance by which they ordained that a new State be formed and erected out of the territory included within certain boundaries...
On this view, the state of Virginia didn't really secede, and the state legislature wasn't really the state legislature — it was just a convention "professing to represent" Virginia. Those guys! And it was the South which started the war. And so, the loyal state of Virginia (which had never left the Union), decided to make West Virginia out of itself. On this view, secession, it must be noted, was not merely an incorrect legal theory but a "heresy."
Northern political philosophy dances back and forth in an incoherent daze. Had the Southern states actually left the union, such that they had to be readmitted, or had the Southern states only attempted to leave the union? As Hummel observes,
because most Northerners agreed that the seceding states had not legally left the Union, these states counted toward the total for ratifying the [13th] Amendment. Only their ratifications, coupled with those from the North, provided the necessary three-fourths...The reconstructed governments were...in the anomalous position of being recognized by the President but not by Congress, of being legitimate for the purpose of ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment but not for the purpose of having representation within the national government. (Hummel, 297, 299)
Both claims, however, cannot be true. Either the Southern states left, and were re-admitted to the Union they had left, or the Southern states did not leave, in which case they did not need to be re-admitted.
The consequences of the Northern inability to take a consistent view of the Southern secession are overwhelming. Justice George Comstock, a member of the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in the state, despite the name) and a founder of Syracuse University, observed that if Mr. Davis is right as to all the circumstances and results flowing from separation, then the seceded states are the rightful possession of a perfect sovereignty...[the Civil War then] was a war of invasion and conquest, for which there is no warrant in the Constitution, but which is condemned by the rules of Christianity, and the law of the civilized world. (When in the Course of Human Events, 182).
And yet the federal courts do not consistently decide whether the Southern states did or did not leave the union, nor do they adopt a consistent theory to explain either side of the question.
Third, although at least four Southern states make legal arguments in their Declarations of Secession (which were issued after the states had seceded, by way of explanation and legal justification) which mention slavery, they do not do so to incite popular support for secession. For one, secession was already desired by the populace. Second, if the intention were to engender popular support for secession by reference to slavery, this was a manifest failure; as Tom DiLorenzo notes in "Libertarians and the Confederate Battle Flag," the evidence of thousands upon thousands of letters written by Confederate soldiers fails to disclose mention of slavery as a reason for fighting. Instead, the soldiers professed to be fighting for liberty and independence.
Instead, the declarations mention slavery as proof of the fact that the federal government, as well as the northern states, already had destroyed the constitution, therefore relieving the southern states of any obligation to remain in the union; indeed, the declarations go so far as to declare it a duty to secede to escape such abuses. The South Carolina declaration, for example, argues that
The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments on the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.
The declarations of secession issued by South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas are explicitly legalistic, and read like complaints for breach of contract. The documents mention slavery in reference to the federal government's selective enforcement of the laws, as well as its unconstitutional support for Northern manufacturing interest by means of tariffs upon imports (which were paid by Southern planters).
These four states, then, can be said to have seceded over the failure of federal authorities to protect slavery and the federal tariffs, both of which were seen as failures to uphold the Constitution.
(By the way, as Thomas DiLorenzo notes in "Yankee Confederates: New England Secession Movements Prior to the War Between the States" (Chapter 7 of Secession, State and Liberty), these are exactly the same sort of arguments made by Northern Federalists such as John Quincy Adams (the 6th president) in 1803 over the Louisiana Purchase, in 1809 over the embargo, and at the Hartford Convention in 1814 over the War of 1812).
It must be noted, however, that the entire South did not secede at the same time. Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina seceded only after Lincoln's unconstitutional call for troops to invade the states who had already seceded. Thus, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel (p 8) argues that slavery and secession must be viewed as separate issues; even if some states seceded over slavery, this does not automatically justify a war to prevent such secession.
Fourth, the Union Army's treatment of the South was criminal. Sherman's march to the sea was the very definition of barbarism. As Charles Adams notes (Chapter 8), at the same time as the war was going on, the first Geneva Convention (1863) formalized the laws of war which nations had recognized for nearly 300 years. Included among war crimes under international law were: 1) attacking defenseless cities and towns, 2) plundering and destroying civilian property, and 3) confiscating non-necessities from civilians, or not paying for necessities which were taken. Sherman's march to the sea violated all three norms of international law.
The disregard for international law in the destruction of the South is instructive. Stalin famously wondered how many divisions the Pope had at his disposal. In this case, Lincoln had more troops than Jeff Davis. As is often remarked, the only thing proved by the war was that an industrial nation with a population of 20 million could militarily defeat an agricultural nation with a population of 9 million.
This brings to mind the trial and execution of Charles I. At his trial, Charles demanded to know "by whose authority" he was being tried, since it is "the authority of the King in Parliament" which was held to empower Parliament to act. Of course, the Parliament never answered his question, because the only answer was that Parliament had no authority over the king. And so Charles I was executed. (For two great accounts of the reign and death of Charles I, see Charles I: The Personal Monarch, 2nd Ed., by Charles Carlton, and Charles I, part of the British History in Perspective series, by Michael B. Young). It is a hard truth to accept, but sometimes human beings act as if might makes right, and the law be damned.
No wonder Robert E. Lee, in 1870, told the former Confederate governor of Texas, Fletcher Stockdale: "Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people [Yankees] designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand." (When in the Course of Human Events, 219-20).
The cases of the CSA and Charles I are not isolated events. Bonnie Prince Charlie, for example, is acknowledged to have had the legal right to the English throne — and yet he died trying to enforce his right. The USA systematically broke numerous treaties with the Indian tribes, who remain, to this day, the poster-nation for federal welfare "largesse," with third-world poverty and health statistics. The Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania — allegedly "liberated" by the Soviets — remained under Soviet rule for roughly 40 years. Poland has spent the majority of her history as the conquered province of various empires. The "enlightened" European nations which opposed American slavery spent the next 100 years carving out territorial empires in Africa.
All too often in human affairs, might makes right.
One key to the preservation of Western civilization is to acknowledge that such a state of affairs is unjust and immoral.
In that regard, the proper view of Abraham Lincoln is essential to the restoration of American liberty.
The historical difficulty in adjudicating cases of secession, and therefore in arguing over the fate of the South, is that there is no judge in a case of secession. Since international law holds statehood and recognition to be political questions, might tends to make right in the international arena. Where the colonial secession from England is concerned, there was no dispute because the two parties — the colonies and England — agreed among themselves to end their hostilities and go their separate ways.
When the American states later changed their system of government from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution of 1789, Britain and France did not complain because this was an internal arrangement of the colonies, similar in international significance to the question of whether to call one house of the legislature the Upper House or the Senate, or whether to paint the Senate chambers blue or red.
But secession tends to be a political question because if a state secedes, a new state comes into being that did not exist before, with territory and people that used to "belong" to another state. All the legal arguments merely attempt, as Ostrowski notes Abe Lincoln did in Congress, to persuade the politicians how to act in practice. Ultimately, might made right for Abraham Lincoln, flowery rhetoric notwithstanding.
In conclusion, consider Lincoln's actions by the standard found in Montesquieu: have Lincoln's actions served to preserve the free condition of the United States? In a word, no.
Overwhelmingly, the evidence demonstrates that Lincoln did not preserve the freedom of the United States, but expanded governmental power at the expense of individual liberty.
Lincoln's only claim to have acted for liberty is that he freed the slaves. Ignoring for the sake of argument the great problems with this claim, what sort of freedom is today enjoyed by the descendants of the freed slaves? The freedom to do what the government (whether federal, state, or local) allows them to do, and no more. This is of course not to endorse or defend the abomination which is slavery. Slavery is the ultimate denial of human liberty. Rather, this is to point out that Lincoln's war, and his handling of the end of slavery in America, was a long-term disaster for American liberty:
the Civil War [is] America's real turning point. In the years ahead, coercive authority would wax and wane with year-to-year circumstances, but the long-term trend would be unmistakable. Henceforth there would be no more major victories of Liberty over Power. In contrast to the whittling away of government that had preceded Fort Sumter, the United States had commenced its halting but inexorable march toward the welfare-warfare state of today. (Hummel 359)
Marshall DeRosa, in The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry into American Constitutionalism, provides quotations from Richard Henry Lee and T.S. Eliot which parallel Montesquieu's concern:
Richard Henry Lee, 1787: The present moment discovers a new face in our affairs. Our object has been all along to reform our federal system and to strengthen our governments, to establish peace, order and justice in the community; but a new object now presents. The plan of government now proposed is evidently calculated totally to change, in time, our condition as a people. Instead of being thirteen republics under a federal head, it is clearly designed to make us one consolidated government...This consolidation of the states has been the object of several men in this country for some time past. Whether such a change can ever be effected in any manner, whehter it can be effected without convulsions and civil wars, whether such a change will not totally destroy the liberties of this country, time can only determine.
T.S. Eliot, 1949: The real revolution in that country was not what is called the Revolution, but is a consequence of the Civil War; after which arose a plutocratic elite; after which the expansion and material development of the country was accelerated; after which was swollen that stream of mixed immigration, bringing (or rather multiplying) the danger of development into a caste system which has not yet been quite dispelled. For the sociologist, the evidence from America is not yet ripe.
Lee wrote at the time of the ratification of the Constitution; T.S. Eliot wrote in the aftermath of World War II. Fifty-two years since Eliot wrote, the evidence of American public life demonstrates that government power has continued to expand, while the realm of American liberty has grown ever smaller. This is not a good thing. As Jose Ortega y Gasset observed in 1930, "The result of this tendency will be fatal. Spontaneous social action will be broken up over and over again by State intervention; no new seed will be able to fructify. Society will have to live for the State, man for the governmental machine." (The Revolt of the Masses).
Lincoln declared that he fought the war to preserve the Union, and indeed, he did so. The Union, however, was preserved in name only, while the formerly free condition of America was subjugated to the power of government. This is the reason for Hummel's title — Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men — which, ironically, comes from a cautionary speech given by Lincoln. In his address before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838, "The young Lincoln was warning about the potential danger of a future Napoleon subverting the United States Constitution." As Lincoln stated, "Towering genius disdains a beaten path...It thirsts and burns for distinction; and, if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves, or enslaving freemen." (Hummel 366)
Returning to Montesquieu, consider his account of the nature of political unions:
What is called union in a body politic is a very equivocal thing. The true kind is a union of harmony, whereby all the parts, however opposed they may appear, cooperate for the general good of society — as dissonances in music cooperate in producing overall concord. In a state where we seem to see nothing but commotion there can be union — that is, a harmony resulting in happiness, which alone is true peace. It is as with the parts of the universe, eternally linked together by the action of some and the reaction of others. (93)
Following Montesquieu's account, the "true kind of union" must be seen to have died with secession, if not earlier. What sort of union, then, did Lincoln preserve by force of arms? As Montesquieu continues,
in the concord of Asiatic despotism — that is, of all government which is not moderate — there is always real dissension. The worker, the soldier, the lawyer, the magistrate, the noble are joined only inasmuch as some oppress the others without resistance. And, if we see any union there, it is not citizens who are united but dead bodies buried one next to the other." (94)
Recall that the quotation is taken from Montesquieu's Considerations on the fall of the Romans. In the works of the Roman historians, references to "Asiatic despots" are not uncommon. The reason for this is that, after the fall of the Republic, even the emperors were allegedly answerable to the people through the Senate, unlike the absolutist "Asian" monarchs whom the Romans encountered. In Rome, citizens possessed liberties which even the emperors were not supposed to violate.
Once upon a time, this was also true in America.