Hi, Folks -
The True Cause of the Civil War
With the controversy arising out of Virginia's Gov. Bob McDonnell's proclamation of April being Confederate History Month, I've seen a lot of evidence that many have been hoodwinked by revisionist history. So I'd like to set the record straight on the true cause of the Civil War.
But first, let me say that, as a libertarian, I believe that slavery in any form is an extreme abomination. Its abolishment was the only good thing to come out of the Civil War. However, history shows that the abolishment of slavery can and has been achieved peacefully. So what is my motivation for compiling this piece? I can sum it up in one word - TRUTH. If we ignore history, we are bound to repeat it. If we have a false understanding of history, we are bound to head in directions that can be disastrous.
As our current, bloated, out-of-control, omnipotent federal government
has abandoned any semblance of Constitutional compliance, the People
have begun to call for the States to reign in the agent which they
created. In response, Statists have launched an attack on the concept
of State Sovereignty and those who favor state intervention. That
attack has included the attempt to paint the pro-States' Rights
Movement as being "racist" and "treasonous". It is my objective to let
true history prove that such nefarious assertions are false and based on revisionist
The true cause of the Civil War was NOT about slavery. It was predominately about economic factors linked directly to trade tariffs that greatly favored the industrializing Northern states and were very detrimental to the agrarian Southern states. To prove this, I've first posted an article written by Dr. Walter Williams, Professor of Economics at George Mason University. http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/vita.html The article gives a brief but accurate overview of the true causes of the Civil War. Additionally, I have compiled a time line of events that clearly show that both slavery wasn't the cause and that biased economic tariffs were.
The Civil War Wasn't About Slavery
December 2, 1998
THE PROBLEMS THAT LED TO THE CIVIL WAR are the same problems today-big, intrusive government. The reason we don't face the specter of another Civil War is because today's Americans don't have yesteryear's spirit of liberty and constitutional respect, and political statesmanship is in short supply.
Actually, the war of 1861 was not a civil war. A civil war is a conflict between two or more factions trying to take over a government. In 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was no more interested in taking over Washington than George Washington was interested in taking over England in 1776. Like Washington, Davis was seeking independence. Therefore, the war of 1861 should be called "The War Between the States" or the "War for Southern Independence." The more bitter southerner might call it the "War of Northern Aggression."
History books have misled today's Americans to believe the war was fought to free slaves.
Statements from the time suggest otherwise. In President Lincoln's first inaugural address, he said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so."
During the war, in an 1862 letter to the New York Daily Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln said, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery." A recent article by Baltimore's Loyola College Professor Thomas DiLorenzo titled "The Great Centralizer," in The Independent Review (Fall 1998), cites quotation after quotation of similar northern sentiment about slavery.
Lincoln's intentions, as well as that of many northern politicians, were summarized by Stephen Douglas during the presidential debates. Douglas accused Lincoln of wanting to "impose on the nation a uniformity of local laws and institutions and a moral homogeneity dictated by the central government" that "place at defiance the intentions of the republic's founders." Douglas was right, and Lincoln's vision for our nation has now been accomplished beyond anything he could have possibly dreamed.
A precursor for a War Between the States came in 1832, when South Carolina called a convention to nullify tariff acts of 1828 and 1832, referred to as the "Tariffs of Abominations." A compromise lowering the tariff was reached, averting secession and possibly war. The North favored protective tariffs for their manufacturing industry. The South, which exported agricultural products to and imported manufactured goods from Europe, favored free trade and was hurt by the tariffs. Plus, a northern-dominated Congress enacted laws similar to Britain's Navigation Acts to protect northern shipping interests.
Shortly after Lincoln's election, Congress passed the highly protectionist Morrill tariffs.
That's when the South seceded, setting up a new government. Their constitution was nearly identical to the U.S. Constitution except that it outlawed protectionist tariffs, business handouts and mandated a two-thirds majority vote for all spending measures.
The only good coming from the War Between the States was the abolition of slavery. The great principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" was overturned by force of arms. By destroying the states' right to secession, Abraham Lincoln opened the door to the kind of unconstrained, despotic, arrogant government we have today, something the framers of the Constitution could not have possibly imagined.
States should again challenge Washington's unconstitutional acts through nullification. But you tell me where we can find leaders with the love, courage and respect for our Constitution like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John C. Calhoun.
Time line of events
1832: South Carolina called a convention to nullify tariff acts of 1828 and 1832, referred to as the "Tariffs of Abominations" which created a deep rift between the agrarian South and the industrializing North.
1833: A compromise lowering the tariff was reached, averting secession and possibly war.
May 10, 1860: The Morrill Tariff Act passed the United States House of Representatives by a strictly sectional vote. Virtually all of the northern representatives supported it and southern representatives opposed it because it economically oppressed the Southern states and was beneficial to the Northern states.
November, 1860: Lincoln wins the election on a pro-tariff platform that specifically excluded the abolition of slavery. The true abolition candidate, Gerrit Smith of New York, drew few votes.
Dec. 1860: The Senate begins to move toward the passage of the Morrill Tariff Act.
Dec. 20, 1860: South Carolina secedes. Six more lower South states and later four upper South states follow.
The Morrill Tariff finally came up for full debate on February 27 and was approved on March 2 on a strictly sectional vote.
March 2, 1861: Morrill Tariff was signed into law by President Buchanan.
March 4, 1861: Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as President of the United States. In his inaugural address, he said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so."
Apr 12, 1861: Fort Sumter is attacked - the beginning of the Civil War.
Sept. 22, 1862: Lincoln issues the first Emancipation Proclamation, to be effective January 1, 1863... almost two years after the secession of the South. It declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863.
Jan. 1, 1863: The second order of emancipation was issued naming ten specific states where it would apply. The proclamation did not name the slave-holding border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, or Delaware, which had never declared a secession, and so it did not free any slaves there. The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, so it also was not named and was exempted.
I don't believe anyone can honestly refute that these facts and their chronology conclude that slavery was not a significant cause of the Civil War. Emancipation was clearly a political tool and a tactic of war, not the cause of it.
Beyond the hundreds of thousands of American lives lost was the cost of our Republic as was envisioned by its founders. The Union of States was replaced with a Federalized system that began the inversion of the proper hierarchy of power which was 1) the People followed by 2) the States followed by 3) the National Government. Before the Civil War, the States were the vanguards of freedom... the shield between the People and a centralized government which innately tends to grow and oppress. The results of the Civil War was a dramatic shift of power from the States to what can only be described as a "federal" government. The next major nail in the coffin of States rights came in 1913 with the passage of the 17th Amendment... but that is a topic of a blog yet to be written.
Revisionist history paints Abraham Lincoln as a hero who set out to free the slaves. True history shows that such a myth is akin to that of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. Lincoln was a proponent of a big, centralized FEDERAL government (contrary to the limited national government as defined by the Constitution). We are now suffering from that legacy. Slavery could and should have been abolished without the war that claimed more American lives than any other war in our nation's history.
Will the People rise up in numbers sufficient to save our Republic by placing once more the chains of the Constitution upon the national government? Will the States use their inherent powers to do their part in this crucial endeavor? Will they use their sovereign powers to sever the fuel line to Washington and therefore stop the totalitarian Leviathan? http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/a-viable-plan-to-save-o... The answers to those questions are in the hands of We the People.
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