By Thomas DiLorenzo
Thomas J. DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln;
;Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe
, How Capitalism Saved America
, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today
. His latest book is Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government
When the Washington Post
reviewed Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Gangs of New York
,” which included a reasonably-accurate portrayal of the 1863 New York City draft riots (see Iver Bernstein, The New York City Draft Riots
), the Post’s
reviewer expressed astonishment upon learning that such an event had occurred. “We were all taught in school that there was national unity during the Civil War,” he opined.
Of course, there is never “national unity” about anything, especially war, democratic politics being what it is. When is the last time you heard of a unanimous vote
expressing national unity in the U.S. Congress about anything? Even the vote to declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor was not unanimous.
The myth of national unity during the “Civil War” was invented and cultivated by the history profession, the Republican Party, and the New England clergy in the post-war era to “justify” the killing of hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens in the Southern states; the plundering of the South during “Reconstruction;” the destruction of the voluntary union of the states and the system of federalism that was created by the founding fathers; and the adoption of Hamiltonian mercantilism as America’s new economic system.
Any serious student of the “Civil War” knows that this is all absurd nonsense. In addition to myriad draft riots, there were massive desertions from the Union Army from the very beginning of the war (see Ella Lonn, Desertion During the Civil War
); Lincoln did
shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers and imprison thousands of Northern political dissenters without due process. He did
deport the most outspoken Democratic Party critic in Congress, Clement L. Vallandigham of Dayton, Ohio. He did
rig elections by having soldiers intimidate Democratic Party voters. And he did
send some 15,000 federal troops to murder the New York City draft rioters by the hundreds in July of 1863. All of this has been discussed for decades in “mainstream” history scholarship such asConstitutional Problems Under Lincoln
by James Randall and Freedom Under Lincoln
by Dean Sprague. The history profession has, however, done a meticulous job in seeing to it that such facts rarely, if ever, make it into the textbooks that are used in the public schools.
But times are changing in the era of the internet and of independent scholarship on the subject by scholars associated with such organizations as the Abbeville Institute. The Institute’s latest publication is entitled Northern Opposition to Mr. Lincoln’s War
, edited by D. Jonathan White. It includes essays by White, Brion McClanahan, Marshall DeRosa, Arthur Trask, Joe Stromberg, Richard Valentine, Richard Gamble, John Chodes, and Allen Mendenhall. These nine scholarly essays destroy the nationalist myth of “national unity” in the North during the War to Prevent Southern Independence.
Marshall DeRosa’s opening essay on “President Franklin Pierce and the War for Southern Independence” goes a long way in explaining why
the nationalists in American politics believed that it was imperative to invent the myth of national unity. President Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire was a Democrat who opposed the invasion of the Southern states. He was a Jeffersonian, states-rights president, which is why he was mercilessly smeared by Lincoln’s hatchet man, William Seward, who accused him of treason (re-defined by the Lincoln administration as any criticism of it and its policies). The real objects of Seward and Lincoln’s wrath towards Pierce, DeRosa explains, were the ideas that President Pierce stood for and was elected president on, as illustrated in the Democratic Party Platform of 1852.
The main ideas of this platform, upon which Pierce ran for president were: a federal government of limited powers, delegated to it by the states; opposition to the form of corporate welfare known as “internal improvements”; free trade and open immigration; gradual extinction of the national debt; opposition to a national bank; and realizing that the Constitution would have to be amended as a means of peacefully
ending slavery. This latter position was the position of the famous nineteenth-century libertarian abolitionist, Lysander Spooner, author ofThe Unconstitutionality of Slavery
It was because of these ideas that Pierce was libeled and smeared by the Republican Party of his day, with subsequent generations of historians merely repeating the smears disguised as “scholarship.” Lincoln’s claim to fame, on the other hand, writes DeRosa, “is not that he adhered to the rule of law [as Pierce did], but that he had the audacity to disregard it.” Thanks to the history profession, moreover, “Americans continue to pay homage to the villains that laid the tracks to our present sorry state of affairs.”
D. Jonathan White surveys the Northern opponents of Lincoln’s war that were slandered by the administration and its media mouthpieces as “copperheads” (snakes in the grass). Among the “copperheads” were many prominent citizens of the North who, like President Pierce, were passionate defenders of the rule of law and constitutionally-limited government. Their main complaints were against Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus and the mass arrest of Northern political opponents without due process; the draft law, which they considered to be a form of slavery; the income tax imposed by the Lincoln administration – the first in American history; and protectionist tariffs (the cornerstone of the Republican Party platform of 1860). Because of these beliefs, hundreds, if not thousands of “copperheads” were imprisoned without due process by the Lincoln administration.
Allen Mendenhall contributes a very interesting article about how the famous U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was wounded three times in the war, became a sharp critic of Lincoln, his “mystical” union, and the war during the rest of his life. Brion McClanahan’s essay describes in scholarly detail the Jeffersonian Democrats in the state of Delaware who opposed the war (the state gave its three electoral votes and 46 percent of the popular vote to Southern Democrat John Breckenridge in the 1860 election). R.T. Valentine does essentially the same thing in his chapter on opposition to Lincoln’s policies in Westchester County, New York and the greater Hudson Valley. He describes in detail how the residents of these areas, many of whom had family history in the area going back to the time of the founding, deeply resented the pushy, imperialistic, arrogant “Yankees” who were the base of Lincoln’s support and who had been moving into New York state from New England in droves.
Arthur Trask demonstrates that there was also a great deal of opposition to Lincoln’s war in Philadelphia, where many residents had long-lasting business and personal relationships with Southerners, while John Chodes writes of the horrible wartime governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, who apparently fancied himself as a mini-Lincoln with his imprisonment of dissenters and other dictatorial acts.
Joe Stromberg and Richard Gamble contribute chapters that explain the role of the Northern clergy in instigating the war. Stromberg writes of the impulse of many Northern clergymen to use the coercive powers of the state to try to create some version of heaven on earth. Worse yet, “[T]he war of 1861-1865, as preached by the clergy surveyed here, became a permanent template for subsequent American crusades, whatever their origins. From the Free Soil argument of the 1850s, through two World Wars, Cold War, and down to Iraq and beyond. American leaders insist that their latest enemy [ISIS?] is both inherently expansionist and committed to some form of slavery. It is therefore the duty of the new enemy to surrender ‘unconditionally’ and undergo reconstruction and reeducation for the good of all mankind . . .”
Richard Gamble traces the transformation of “Old School Presbyterianism” to where it embraced “political preaching.” For example, upon Lincoln’s election a national assembly meeting in Philadelphia issued a proclamation that was “a turning point in the history of American Presbyterianism”: “That in the judgment of this Assembly, it is the duty of the ministry and churches under its care to do all in their power to promote and perpetuate the integrity of the United States [government], and to strengthen, uphold, and encourage the Federal Government.” The Old School Presbyterians, writes Gamble, “enlisted their church on the Union side,” which is to say, the side that would soon be invading, murdering, raping, and plundering its way through the Southern states. This, Gamble argues, is how war and imperialism became the keystone of America’s “civil religion.” This bogus “religion” is illustrated a thousand times over in the Laurence Vance archives
The Abbeville Institute is to be congratulated for publishing this latest correction of the historical record regarding Lincoln’s war. Northern Opposition to Mr. Lincoln’s War
should be a part of the library of every American who resents having been lied to by his teachers, professors, film makers, and authors, and who seeks the truth about his own country’s history.
by Al Benson Jr.
In his rather convoluted thinking, Abraham Lincoln stated that: The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774.” Some historians have noted that this association of the colonies before the Articles of Confederation was adopted, was a body that could only suggest certain courses of action, none of which had the force of law–a deliberative body–nothing more. Such facts made no difference whatever to Abraham Lincoln. They didn't fit his agenda and so he ignored them. As far as he was concerned, it was all “the Union” even though his ethereal version of it existed in his mind before the documents that founded the Union existed. Walter Kennedy and I noted in Lincoln’s Marxists on page 109 and following, which is chapter 5 entitled Lincoln’s Mystical View of the Union that this was Lincoln’s mindset.
Sad to say, this seems to be a rather strong tack in the Yankee/Marxist mindset in general. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Salmon P. Chase also seemed to lean strongly in this direction with his view of the Union.
John Niven, in his book Salmon P. Chase–a biography also noted: Had the Confederate States by their secession from the Union given up their former identity as Sumner, Stevens and other radical politicians argued? If they had, then it would logically follow that secession was a lawful act and the Union had existed only at the sufferance of the states, an argument Lincoln dismissed as an abstraction…
It has been argued that “The South never really understood the Union.” That may be true–at least they never understood it in the sense that the Yankee did. Had they truly done so, I would submit that the Southern states never should have ratified the Constitution to begin with. Christian statesman Patrick Henry warned his fellow Virginians with common sense arguments and logic of the dangers of Virginia’s ratification of the Constitution. Virginians did not heed his words. They should have. And yet, maybe some of the mud stuck against the wall, for in Virginia’s ratification ordinances it was stated: We the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected…do, in the name and behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whenever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression. New York’s ratification statement pretty much says the same thing. And their ratification ordinances were accepted with this language included in them.
In other words, some states ratified the Constitution with the proviso that, should things not work out in this new union, they had the right to leave. That was the Southern understanding of this new Constitution, and it would seem that some Northern folks had the same understanding. I agree with them. Yet, suffice it to say, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, after the War of Northern Aggression (or could we call it the War of Marxist Revolution?) took a view totally opposed to that truth, as had Lincoln. Should anyone really be surprised? After all, the winners always get to redefine the “history.”
Chase noted, in 1869, that the Constitution in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States. He felt that once a state or territory got into the Union, that was it. It was there for eternity unless its status was determined by a revolution, or “consent of the states.” Chase noted the language in the Articles of Confederation about a “perpetual Union.” That term, “perpetual” did not appear in the new Constitution, but rather the new document referred to a “more perfect Union.” Chase apparently took that to mean “more perpetually perfect.” If Chase was aware or either Virginia’s nor New York’s ratification terminology he kept silent about it. After all, those ratification ordinances contradicted his “indestructible Union” tomfoolery.
And Chase was, apparently, more than ready to accept more broad, sweeping powers for the federal government. In 1866 he observed: That the war had changed the government and the powers of government were essentially different from what they were before the war. Now there was an understatement if ever I saw one, and yet a revelation as well. He’s telling you, right flat out, that the war gave the federal government more and expanded powers–probably not constitutional ones–but not to worry, Chase’s Supreme Court would remedy that little problem.
So Chase followed in the same vein that Lincoln had–the Union existed before the states and it was indestructible and irrevocable. And once you were in, you were still in, even if you seceded–in fact you really didn't secede, you only thought you did. Of course, then, to get back into this “Union” you had never really been out of, you had to ratify certain amendments. At this point, the logic (and I use that term loosely) of the Yankee/Marxist absolutely defies description.
You have to wonder where these people got their notion of an “indestructible” Union. Did it have anything to do with what they were smoking? When the group assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 gave us the Constitution (when it was really beyond their instructions to do so) what they did, in effect, was to secede from the Articles of Confederation and give us a whole new government–one that did not use the words “perpetual union” and one that did not forbid secession, even though I have been informed that it really did.
When the New England states sent delegates to Hartford, Connecticut in 1814 to consider the secession of the New England states no one said anything. Admittedly, they ended up not seceding because the War of 1812 which had New England merchants so stirred up ended. However, they were strongly considering it, as they did two other times. In those days you didn't take trips like that just to engage in political chit-chat. Yet no one complained. No one told the New Englanders that their secession was illegal or that the supremacy clause in the Constitution forbid them from ever seceding at any time unless all the other states were willing to let them go. The right of a state to secede was accepted. Remember the secession language in the New York and Virginia ratification ordinances? But some inform us that this was all meaningless, that once you were in you could never get out unless all the states were willing to let you go. You almost wonder if there was a slight double standard in operation here–it would have been okay if the New England states did it but not if the Southern states did it.
Contrary to Chase’s “indestructible Union” theory, Professor Donald W. Livingston has written in Secession, State & Liberty that “There was a time, however, when talk about secession was a part of American politics. Indeed, the very concept of secession and self-determination of peoples, in the form being discussed today, is largely an American invention. It is no exaggeration to say that the unique contribution of the eighteenth-century American Enlightenment is not federalism but the principle that a people, under certain conditions, have a moral right to secede from an established political authority and to govern themselves.” Livingston further wrote that: “The Constitution of the United States was founded as a federative compact between the states, marking out the authority of a central government, having enumerated powers delegated to it by sovereign states which reserved for themselves the vast domain of un-enumerated powers. By an act of philosophical alchemy, the Lincoln tradition has transmuted this essentially federative document into a consolidated nationalist regime…In this version, the reserved powers of the states vanish, and the states themselves are transformed into resources for and administrative units of a nationalist political project…” That is exactly where we find ourselves today, thanks to the views of men like Lincoln and Chase, who, in a political sense, “Changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator…” (Romans 1).
The Southern states, and some Northern ones, always considered the Constitution to be a compact between sovereign states. Had it been understood by them as anything but that, it is highly doubtful that many of these states, a mere thirteen years after the end of our War for Independence, would have entangled themselves in the clutches of an indissoluble union from which they could never withdraw. The Declaration of Independence was, after all, a secession document.
The Kennedy Brothers, in their groundbreaking work The South Was Right stated, on page 162: “In her act of ratification, Virginia drew a protective shield around the sovereign community and declared that sovereignty is derived from the people…The states did not intend to establish a supreme judge to rule over them. Before entering into the proposed constitutional contract, the state of Virginia (along with several other states, both north and south) declared the legal right of the sovereign community (the people of the state) to recall any delegated power if it is used in an act of oppression or injury against the people. The fact that the other states accepted the Virginia Act of Ratification without question is reason enough to maintain the assertion that they were in agreement with Virginia.”
If the Constitution is looked to as a document that forms an “indestructible” Union, then the states that ratified it have been lied to–sold a bill of goods, bought a political “gold brick’ as it were–a brick made not of gold, but of iron–that iron to forge the chains of those states that may finally realize they have been lied to and so they want out!
Secession was not illegal, was not rebellion as the Northern politicians claimed, and, as author James Street said: “The South got a raw deal.” And the Lincoln/Chase concept of “perpetual Union” is what is taught in the government schools in this country–to make sure no one ever again concludes that secession might be the answer to the problems of an ever-expanding socialist regime in Washington.
Editor's note: The following essay by Pastor Baldwin is an excellent example of what we Confederates often phase the two headed coin. The choice between Democrats and Republicans is not a choice at all but merely "the choice" that Washington establishment powers allow the voters to make. All this banter regarding how this election is about saving the Republic is diddly squat! That Republic for which they often refer to was destroyed in 1865 at Appomattox. As the quote at the top of this page by General Lee shows, he had second thoughts about that too after the reality of that surrender came home to roost. At least the Confederate government never surrendered the Republic so perhaps it is still possible to revive it, but first we must revive our Confederacy. If you like what you see here, please become a member of the Confederate Society today! Kevin Carroll
By Chuck Baldwin
October 9, 2014
reprinted from our friends at NewsWithViews.com
Republican hacks are famous for promoting the “lesser of two evils” mantra. The idea goes something like this, “No matter how bad or evil a Republican candidate might be, the Democrat candidate is always worse, therefore, in order to keep the worse candidate out of office, meaning the Democrat, one must vote for the “lesser of two evils,” meaning the Republican candidate. Obviously, the only way one can buy that philosophy is he or she must accept the premise that the Democrat candidate is ALWAYS worse than the Republican candidate; however, this premise only makes sense in the smoke-filled back rooms of Republican Machiavellians such as Karl Rove and John Boehner--and in the closed and shackled minds of their slavish GOP robots.
The idea that the Republican Party is a “good” party and the Democrat Party is a “bad” party is just so much horse manure. The fact is that BOTH major parties in Washington, D.C., have routinely turned their backs on the American people, the Bill of Rights, individual liberties, State sovereignty, and constitutional governance for most of the last half-century. And when it comes to building a universal Warfare State abroad and a ubiquitous Police State at home, the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., is far, far worse.
For example, the American people lost far more liberties under President G.W. Bush (a Republican) than we have under President Barack Obama (a Democrat). Bush gave us the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA, and the Department of Homeland Security, and the preemptive war doctrine, just to name a few. Yes, these egregiously tyrannical acts continue under Obama, but he is simply perpetuating what Bush began. Obama may be driving the tank now, but Bush designed it, built it, and test-drove it.
Furthermore, big-government Republicans are the ones who have mostly created this phony, albeit expensive, “war on drugs.” Between the Democrats’ “war on poverty” and the Republicans’ “war on drugs” and “war on terrorism,” our country is financially--not to mention morally--bankrupt. And don’t think for a second that Nancy Pelosi or Obama want to give amnesty to illegal aliens any more than John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or John Boehner do, because they don’t. The only ones inside the Beltway who oppose amnesty for illegals are the Tea Party Republicans.
Come on, folks, think! If electing Republicans was all that was necessary to keep out the bad guys, why does Karl Rove and John Boehner, et al. spend millions of dollars trying to DEFEAT INCUMBENT Republicans such as Congressman Justin Amash in GOP primary elections?
Here are proven vote-getters, proven winners, sitting congressmen, incumbent Republicans, and the GOP leadership in Washington, D.C., spends millions of dollars trying to defeat them. The Republican leadership spends millions of dollars trying to defeat REPUBLICANS!
See one story: Rebel Leader Justin Amash Wins Big In Michigan
This proves that the GOP leadership in Washington, D.C., has much more in common with Democrats than it does with constitutionalist members of its own party. It also shows that the GOP establishment is much more concerned about maintaining the big-government status quo of Washington, D.C., than in defending the Constitution or in representing its own stated platform.
In truth, the GOP platform means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the GOP leadership. It is just liturgy to deceive rank and file Republicans into believing that their national party truly represents them. It doesn’t. It represents the same Big Government, Big Business, globalist elite that the Democrat Party represents.
In fact, if you want to have some fun with your spare time, just spend a couple of hours researching just how many former congressmen and senators from both major parties went on to become lobbyists for FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS after leaving Congress.
In reality, both Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., have been fighting a “war on liberty” for decades.
To say that Republican candidates are automatically and always “less evil” than Democrats is a joke. Yes, the Democrats seem obsessed with redefining marriage; saving spotted owls, wolves, and swampland; giving out Welfare checks and food stamps; and implementing nationalized health care. But, when it comes to building a Warfare State and Police State, Neocon Republicans are FAR WORSE than Democrats. Far worse!
If voting for “the lesser of two evils” is your thing, and you must choose between a Democrat and a Neocon Republican, the Democrat (not the Republican) is usually “the lesser of two evils.” And, sadly, that is exactly the choice that the people of the State of Montana have to make in their lone U.S. House seat next month.
The Democrat candidate is John Lewis. Lewis is, well, a Democrat. The Republican candidate is Ryan Zinke. Zinke is a big-government, pro-war, pro-Police State Neocon. Not only is Zinke not a conservative, he isn’t even much of a Republican.
While a State Senator in 2009, Zinke had a score of 65% from NARAL, one of the country’s most outspoken pro-abortion organizations, meaning he voted WITH pro-abortionists far more than he voted against them. He voted against the interests of the Montana Family Foundation in 1 out of every 3 votes. He voted against educational choice and voted with the Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers 73% of the time. Zinke is so weak on the Second Amendment that the NRA Political Fund graded him with a C in 2008. He is on record as saying “civilians” should not be allowed to possess .50 caliber rifles. Of course, now that he is a candidate for the U.S. Congress, and given that Montana is one of the most pro-gun states in the country, Zinke has recanted his no .50 caliber rifle position and touts himself as being solidly “pro-gun.”
One of Zinke’s former colleagues in the Montana legislature, Ken Miller, said, “Senator Zinke claims to be for job creation and natural resource development in Montana but has an established history of supporting radical far left groups that fight hard to keep good paying jobs out of Montana.”
In fact, Zinke has changed so many of his positions during this campaign that Ken Miller said Zinke has “asserted himself as a John Kerry protégé flip-flop-flip-flop-flip-flopper.”
But it is Zinke’s ethics that has raised the most questions about his fitness to be elected to Congress. Miller notes: “Senator Zinke was a founder and chairman of SOFA, a ‘Super PAC,’ gathering large out of state, special interest money. He was a major leader and fundraiser for SOFA up to his candidacy. Now SOFA is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting his candidacy.”
Miller goes on to say that Zinke’s congressional campaign “has raised more than 80% of its funds from outside of Montana, with much of it coming from Wall Street fat cats and DC insiders.”
And let’s not forget that Zinke is a co-owner of a drone manufacturing company. But we can expect him to vote pro-liberty in the war against the proliferation of the government usage of drones to spy on American citizens, can’t we? Yeah, right!
Here is the Vote Smart tab sheet on Ryan Zinke: Ryan K. Zinke’s Ratings And Endorsements
Furthermore, according to Navy SEAL commander, Larry Bailey, Ryan Zinke “tries to rewrite his personal history in order to achieve political office.” In other words, Zinke is lying about his military record. Captain Bailey went on to say this about Zinke, “Ryan’s ambitions will not stop here. He has shown by his dissimulation of facts regarding his career that he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level.”
See the report: Controversy About Ryan Zinke, Montana Candidate For Congress
Zinke is trying to obfuscate his dismal voting record in the Montana Senate by constantly touting an exaggerated military record as a U.S. Navy SEAL. Every commercial, advertisement, and periodical produced by his campaign brags and brags on him being a SEAL.
Ladies and gentlemen, military service, by itself, neither enhances nor diminishes a candidate’s fitness for high public office. If service in the U.S. military was strategically important to elected public office, why hasn’t it been made a requirement for elected public office? Many of America’s most notable political figures had ZERO military service. I’m talking about men such as John Adams, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, etc. Are we to think that men such as these were less than qualified for political office because they did NOT participate in military service? Absurd thought!
A local online Republican hack likes to tout Zinke’s military record while noting his Democrat opponent has no military record--jumping to the sophomoric conclusion that the Republican Zinke is better qualified (and more patriotic) than his Democrat opponent due to this one fact. That is so stupid!
There are military veterans serving on both sides of the political aisle on Capitol Hill. According to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs website, there are 20 Democrats and 69 Republicans serving in the 113th Congress who are military veterans. And according to NationalDefensePac.org, in the 111th Congress (the latest report I found), of the number of military veterans who were serving in the U.S. Senate, 15 were Democrats (including the late Senator Ted Kennedy), and 12 were Republicans.
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To say that we should vote for Ryan Zinke simply because he is a military veteran is ludicrous. If that’s the case, the next time there is a political race in which the Democrat candidate is a veteran and the Republican candidate is not, we should automatically vote for the Democrat, based solely on that fact, right? You’ll never hear one of these Republican hacks draw that conclusion. No. They only want it one way. And the reason we only hear Zinke bragging (and exaggerating) about his military record in his campaign commercials is because he doesn’t want the voters of Montana to become aware of his voting record.
Again, if you want to use the hackneyed cliché that we must vote for “the lesser of two evils,” then the Democrat John Lewis is your man, because Ryan Zinke--like the rest of these big-government, pro-war, pro-Police State Neocon Republicans--is definitely the GREATER EVIL.
As for me, I don’t vote for “the lesser of two evils.” But, I can tell you this: the Republican Ryan Zinke scares me a whole lot more than the Democrat John Lewis. And that’s a fact.•
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by Al Benson Jr.
Often when the issue of secession has been “historically” dealt with it has been done in such a manner as to give the impression that it was purely a Southern political phenomenon. Clearly our present establishment “historians” love to have it so. As usual, there is a little more to the story than what they are pleased to tell us.
Lots of people other than Southerners, in years gone by, admitted the right of secession in this country. Well-known anti-slavery American jurist Joseph Story admitted the right of a state to withdraw from the Union. Judge Story stated: “The obvious deductions which may be, and indeed have been drawn, from considering the Constitution as a Compact between the States, are, that it operates as a mere treaty, or convention between them, and has an obligatory force upon each State no longer that it suits its pleasures, or its consent continues;…and that each State retains the power to withdraw from the Confederacy, and to dissolve the connection, when such shall be its choice;…” So it would seem that Judge Story thus admitted the right of a state to secede.
Thomas Jefferson believed in the right of state secession, and, according to Alexander H. Stephens, the Kentucky Resolutions fully established this.
Even ultra-nationalist Alexander Hamilton was forced, by his own admission, to admit that the right of state secession existed. In regard to Hamilton, Alexander Stephens, who was named after him, wrote: “Even Mr. Hamilton must have believed that this right was incident to the systems; for in his urgent appeals to Mr. Jefferson, as early as 1790, for his influence with members of Congress, in aid of the bill for the assumption of the States debts, he presented the strong reason, that if the measure should not pass, there was great danger of a secession of the members from the creditor States, which would end in ‘a separation of the States.’…he was Secretary of the Treasury. Would he have urged such an argument if he had not believed that those States had a right to withdraw?” That’s an interesting question that those nationalists today of the Hamilton stripe might consider addressing themselves to–then again, maybe not.
And William Rawle, U.S. District Attorney under George Washington, said: “The Union is an association of the people of Republics; its preservation is calculated to depend on the preservation of those republics…It depends on the State itself, to retain or abolish the principle of representation; because it depends on itself, whether it will continue a member of the Union. To deny this right, would be inconsistent with the principles on which all our political systems are founded;…”
Even DeToqueville addressed the secession question. He had stated: “The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; and these, in uniting together, have not forfeited their Nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the States chose to withdraw its name from the contract, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so,…”
Even Utopian socialist Horace Greeley, no real friend of the South, said that: “The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nonetheless;…We hope never to live in a Republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.” It could be that Mr. Greeley didn't really understand the motives of Abraham Lincoln, who had, himself, recognized the right of secession in early 1848–conveniently, just before the onslaught of the socialist revolts in Europe! Again, for more about that read Lincoln’s Marxists.
Just before, and during, the War of Northern Aggression, the sentiment in favor of secession came from other areas of the country and not just from below Mason-Dixon.
In Douglas County, Illinois a meeting was held which announced that: “We regard the Emancipation Proclamation…as the entering wedge which will ultimately divide the middle and northwestern states from our mischief-making, puritanical, fanatical New England brethren…” Culturally, this has happened, even though Lincoln’s “mystical Union” has been held together with bayonets.
In Brown County, Indiana, a gathering was convened that put forth this sentiment: “…Our interests and inclinations will demand of us a withdrawal from political association in a common government with the New England states, who have contributed so much to every innovation upon the Constitution to our present calamity of civil war, and whose tariff legislation must ever prove oppressive to our agricultural and commercial pursuits.” Mind you, such secession sentiments are coming forth from Indiana and Illinois.
Other sources have cited secession sentiment in even the Middle Atlantic states–New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Author William C. Wright has written that: “The secession movement was prominent in the five Middle Atlantic states. Within these five states were three types of secessionists; first, those who wanted to join the Confederacy; second, those who wished to form a central confederacy, that is, to join with the other border states and divide the United States into three separate nations; third, those who preferred to let the South go in peace rather than to use force to save the Union.”
Wright noted that Pennsylvania was the most pro-Union of these states, while New Jersey had strong economic and social ties with the South. New York was divided between the up-state region which supported the Union and the Hudson Valley and New York City areas that had ties to the South. New York City Mayor Fernando Wood had even made the proposition that New York City be made into a “free city.” Wright has duly noted that: “Together, the advocates of secession weakened the Lincoln administration’s ability to react to the Confederacy. At the same time, they offered the South hope of Northern support if war broke out.” In view of this, one might be led to wonder if this situation was the real reason for Lincoln’s actions in regard to Fort Sumter. I might also question why almost none of this type of material is ever presented in our “history” books, if such they can seriously be called. But that would be little more than a rhetorical exercise because I already know why.
The majority of people today, North and South, largely due to the abolitionist propaganda presented in our “history” books (whoever said history books had to teach real history?) and the rampant apostasy in the country as a whole, have viewed secession and the War of Northern Aggression in a strictly secular light. Many who have studied history will readily admit to the political and economic causes of the War, though some continue to persist it was all about slavery. However, most will not touch the theological reasons for secession.
However, there were many in the South that viewed secession in the same light that they viewed the biblical separation spoken of in Second Corinthians 6:14-18. They looked at an increasingly apostate and “progressive” North, while, in the main, most Southerners clung to orthodox Christianity. Informed Southerners watched much of the Northern clergy, no doubt influenced by the taint of Unitarianism, seek to deify man and to exalt the goodness of his human nature and his “free will.” It was the same sort of thing they did with abolitionist/terrorist John Brown in 1859 where Northern Unitarians claimed that Brown’s gallows was equal to Christ’s cross.
The late Professor M. E. Bradford, writing in the Southern Partisan magazine for the fourth quarter of 1991, noted that: “…Professor Bell Wiley observes, the Southern churches had always warned their communicants against ‘extreme confidence in human endeavor.’ The ordinary Southerner of 1860 did not approach the world as did those who had voted for Mr. Lincoln. They were…’as dubious of human ability in social and political matters as in the matter of salvation.’ The belief of the sovereignty of God and dependence of man was the whole of their thinking.”
In regard to Southern clergymen, Professor Bradford wrote: “Because most Southern clergymen were, during the years of sectional conflict within their denominations, convinced that apostasy and infidelity had become the dominant religions of the North.” You know something? They were right! Bradford observed that: “As the War approached, these (Southern) clergymen more and more tended to view the sectional controversy as a dispute between those who acknowledged the authority of the Scripture and those who set their own moral sense above it–in other words, between Christians and infidels.”
Thus we have another, seldom acknowledged, yet perhaps the most important dimension to the secession question–the spiritual and theological dimension. The majority probably have no interest in dealing with this aspect of the question. The “history” they’ve been taught tells them not to, but the spiritual dimension was and is here and needs to be dealt with. As someone with a Christian worldview, I believe all truth is educational and all things, ultimately, reflect someone’s theology. Everything eventually comes down to this–choose who you will serve, the Trinitarian God of the Scriptures or the World System. It has to be one or the other. Many Southern secessionists held to this view. For them, although political issues were prominent as were economic ones, their ultimate view of secession was a theological view. They viewed the doctrine of biblical separation and secession as one. In our apostate day, such a conclusion merits our serious consideration.
A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States
by Alexander H. Stephens (volume one)
Krause Reprint Company, New York, 1970
Democracy in America
by Alexis de Tocqueville (volume one)
Vintage Books, New York, July, 1990
The Hidden Civil War
by Wood Gray
Viking Press, New York, 1942
The Secession Movement in the Middle Atlantic States
by William C. Wright
Associated University Presses, Inc. Cranberry, New Jersey, copyright 1973
A Theological and Political View of the Doctrine of Secession
by Al Benson Jr.
The Copperhead Chronicle, Sterlington, Louisiana, copyright 1995, reprinted 2009
(booklet 30 pages)
By Ron PaulRon Paul Institute
October 2, 2014
Even though it ultimately failed at the ballot box, the recent campaign for Scottish independence should cheer supporters of the numerous secession movements springing up around the globe.
In the weeks leading up to the referendum, it appeared that the people of Scotland were poised to vote to secede from the United Kingdom. Defeating the referendum required British political elites to co-opt secession forces by promising greater self-rule for Scotland, as well as launching a massive campaign to convince the Scots that secession would plunge them into economic depression.
The people of Scotland were even warned that secession would damage the international market for one of Scotland’s main exports, whiskey. Considering the lengths to which opponents went to discredit secession, it is amazing that almost 45 percent of the Scottish people still voted in favor of it.
The Scottish referendum result has done little to discourage other secessionist movements spreading across Europe, in countries ranging from Norway to Italy. Just days after the Scottish referendum, the people of Catalonia voted to hold their own referendum measuring popular support for secession from Spain.
Support for secession is also growing in America. According to a recent poll, one in four Americans would support their state seceding from the federal government. Movements and organizations advocating that state governments secede from the federal government, that local governments secede from state governments, or that local governments secede from both the federal and state governments, are springing up around the country. This year, over one million Californians signed a ballot access petition in support of splitting California into six states. While the proposal did not meet the requirements necessary to appear on the ballot, the effort to split California continues to gain support.
Americans who embrace secession are acting in a grand American tradition. The Declaration of Independence was written to justify secession from Britain. Supporters of liberty should cheer the growth in support for secession, as it is the ultimate rejection of centralized government and the ideologies of Keynesianism, welfarism, and militarism.
Widespread acceptance of the principle of peaceful secession and self-determination could resolve many ongoing conflicts. For instance, allowing the people of eastern Ukraine and western Ukraine to decide for themselves whether to spilt into two separate nations may be the only way to resolve their differences.
The possibility that people will break away from an oppressive government is one of the most effective checks on the growth of government. It is no coincidence that the transformation of America from a limited republic to a monolithic welfare-warfare state coincided with the discrediting of secession as an appropriate response to excessive government.
Devolving government into smaller units promotes economic growth. The smaller the size of government, the less power it has to hobble free enterprise with taxes and regulations.
Just because people do not wish to live under the same government does not mean they are unwilling or unable to engage in mutually beneficial trade. By eliminating political conflicts, secession could actually make people more interested in trading with each other. Decentralizing government power would thus promote true free trade as opposed to “managed trade” controlled by bureaucrats, politicians, and special interests.
Devolution of power to smaller levels of government should also make it easier for individuals to use a currency of their choice, instead of a currency favored by central bankers and politicians.
The growth of support for secession should cheer all supporters of freedom, as devolving power to smaller units of government is one of the best ways to guarantee peace, property, liberty — and even cheap whiskey!