Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Day In The South

From Rebellion:

8:09 AM (11 hours ago)New Year's Day in the Southfrom feed/ by Old RebelMy wife and I will be at at my mother's tomorrow chowing down on pork, cabbage, black-eyed peas, and home-made cornbread. My mom and millions of other ladies of the South have always served that on New Year's Day, and here's why, from

Back in the days of Civil War, Union troops swept through the South, confiscating crops and livestock to use as provisions for their troops. Southerners who weren’t off fighting were left with precious little, save for peas and greens. You see, Union soldiers considered “field peas” and greens to be fit only for animal fodder. These dishes became cherished and appreciated as what saved many a family from starvation during those times and the tradition of celebrating these dishes on the new year was born.

There are three things every Southerner must eat on New Years day, Black eyed peas, greens, and hog jowl or fatback.

Sing "Dixie" Tonight After "Auld Lang Syne"

From Rebellion:

Sing "Dixie" tonight after "Auld Lang Syne"from feed/ by Old RebelTonight, as you savor your Mint Juleps and join in with friends and family to welcome the New Year, don't forget to sing the traditional New Year's anthem, "Auld Lang Syne." And be sure to sing "Dixie" as well, because the two songs complement each other.

Everyone knows that "Auld Lang Syne" is a song of remembrance of treasured days:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne

Loved ones we have lost still touch our hearts, and they will always remain a part of us because we will remember them. But present-day relationships make life worth living today, and the song includes this pledge to those who are close to us now:

And here's a hand, my trusty friend,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne

Loved ones we have lost still touch our hearts, and they will always remain a part of us because we will remember them. But present-day relationships make life worth living today, and the song includes this pledge to those who are close to us now:

And here's a hand, my trusty friend,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne

"Dixie" also recognizes the bonding of past and present by celebrating the history that is a vital part of who we are:

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,

Old times there are not forgotten,

Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

In Dixie Land, where I was born in,

early on one frosty mornin',

Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

"Dixie" also includes this promise to go forward while remaining true to the past:

I wish I was in Dixie, Hooray! Hooray!

In Dixie Land I'll take my stand

to live and die in Dixie.

Away, away, away down South in Dixie.

Away, away, away down South in Dixie.

These songs celebrate our connections with our loved ones of the past and present, connections that make us mindful of things beyond ourselves -- connections that make us human. In an age when loyalty, patriotism, and love of one's own are attacked as anachronisms, when our only concern is supposed to be maximizing the bottom line, and the only values that matter are those of the deracinated, isolated psychopath, it's good to remind ourselves that stubborn human nature persists despite the pressure from our handlers. Let's take a cup.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

David O Dodd Memorial And GEC Meeting Slated For 8 January 2011

From Arkansas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans:

Dec 26, 2010 (15 hours ago)David O. Dodd Memorial and GEC Meeting Slated For January 8, 2011from Arkansas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans by Web MasterGentlemen of the SCV Arkansas Division:

Just a reminder about January 8, 2011. The David O. Dodd Memorial will be held at Mt. Holly Cemetery and the Arkansas Division Executive Council will meet after that event.

Here is the general outline for the Dodd event, sponsored by SCV; and David O. Dodd Camp, #619, SCV:

•This year’s Event will fall on the date of David O. Dodd’s death- January 8th - 146 years ago. With this being the first year of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the State WE NEED TO SHOW UP IN MASS!!

ATM Commander W. Danny Honnoll will MC the event.

Mikah Wisner and Mike Lewis of the 1st Ark Militia will be in command of the Arkansas reenactors.

Those wanting to join the march should be at the MacArthur Park at 10:30 to form ranks. Civilians who wish to walk with the uniformed squad are welcome.

A second squad will form at Mt. Holly for those who do not wish to march the mile to the cemetery and fall in with the first squad coming from the Arsenal.

The ceremony itself will start at 12:00 near Dodd’s grave.

Everyone attending the Memorial is invited to bring a rose, carnation, or wreathes to honor the grave site. There will be a presentation after the Firing Ceremony.

Everyone will be asked to clean up afterward picking up papers etc. One last thing, we appreciate your parking outside the cemetery. It is a little crowded inside and hard to march.

[x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

The Executive Council will meet at 1:30 at the Whole Hog Café on Cantrell Ave in Little Rock (This way everyone can come eat and as soon as we finish eating we can have or meeting) after the end of the Dodd Ceremony. We have little business to conduct, so if you have any items for the meeting let me know. We will also ask for reports from the Brigades and Camp Commanders.

Always Remember

Always Be Ready

W. Danny Honnoll Chief of Staff

Arkansas Division

Sons of Confederate Veterans

David O. Dodd Annual Memorial Service Slated For 8 January 2011

From The Arkansas Toothpick:

David O. Dodd Annual Memorial Service Slated For January 8, 2011

By admin
December 26, 2010

Just a reminder about January 8, 2011. The David O. Dodd Memorial will be held at Mt. Holly Cemetery and the Arkansas Division Executive Council will meet after that event.

Here is the general outline for the Dodd event, sponsored by SCV; and David O. Dodd Camp, #619, SCV:

•This year’s Event will fall on the date of David O. Dodd’s death- January 8th - 146 years ago. With this being the first year of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the State WE NEED TO SHOW UP IN MASS!!

ATM Commander W. Danny Honnoll will MC the event.

Mikah Wisner and Mike Lewis of the 1st Ark Militia will be in command of the Arkansas reenactors.

Those wanting to join the march should be at the MacArthur Park at 10:30 to form ranks. Civilians who wish to walk with the uniformed squad are welcome.

A second squad will form at Mt. Holly for those who do not wish to march the mile to the cemetery and fall in with the first squad coming from the Arsenal.

The ceremony itself will start at 12:00 near Dodd’s grave.

Everyone attending the Memorial is invited to bring a rose, carnation, or wreathes to honor the grave site. There will be a presentation after the Firing Ceremony.

Everyone will be asked to clean up afterward picking up papers etc. One last thing, we appreciate your parking outside the cemetery. It is a little crowded inside and hard to march.

[x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

The Executive Council will meet at 1:30 at the Whole Hog Café on Cantrell Ave in Little Rock (This way everyone can come eat and as soon as we finish eating we can have or meeting) after the end of the Dodd Ceremony. We have little business to conduct, so if you have any items for the meeting let me know. We will also ask for reports from the Brigades and Camp Commanders.

Always Remember

Always Be Ready

W. Danny Honnoll Chief of Staff

Arkansas Division

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Secession Day

From The Other McCain and Secession and Nullification--News and Information:

Secession Day

Posted on
December 20, 2010
View Comments

Secession Meeting at the Mills House, Charleston, S.C., 1860

On this day in 1860, South Carolina voted to secede from the Union, and this 150th anniversary inspires historian Paul Rahe to publish his endorsement of the “indissoluble union” theory:

The legitimacy of secession has been debated ever since. In my view, secession was unlawful. There is provision in the United States constitution for ratification and for the admission of new states into the Union. There is no provision for secession.

It is true, of course, that – in ratifying the Constitution – Virginia specified “that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” But this unilateral assertion on Virginia’s part is not and could not be an assertion of a legal right under the Constitution – which, even if viewed as a contract, recognizes no such right. Rather, it is a reassertion of the natural rights that underpin the right to revolution asserted in the Declaration of Independence, and it applies to the people of the United States and not to the state of Virginia or even the people of the state of Virginia as such.

Of course, this theory effectively abolishes the states, rendering them nothing but administrative jurisdictions of the unitary and all-powerful national government — the negation of federalism.

From the standpoint of political science, it makes no difference whether in your opinion Southern secession was wise or just in 1860, or whether you are in favor of secession as a general idea, and it certainly makes no difference what your opinion is as to the controversies over slavery that provoked the crisis of 1860-61.

The fundamental question is, “Who ratified the Constitution, and what sort of union was created by that ratification?” And the answers to those questions are not, nor can they be, a matter of mere opinion. There are historical facts to be considered, and which Rahe glosses over.

The American colonies which declared their independence from Great Britain in July 1776 made it as clear as possible what their intent was:

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

The colonial uprising we now know as the American Revolution had been under way for more than a year. The battles of Lexington and Concord were fought in April 1775 and the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. The provisional government represented by the Second Continental Congress — which also convened in 1775 — voted for independence on July 2, 1776.

All of these things, then, had been done prior to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. So when Rahe refers to “the right to revolution asserted in the Declaration of Independence” — well, this was a right that patriot militiamen and Continental troops had been actively exercising at the peril of their lives for some 15 months before it was ever “asserted.” And had they lost the war, they’d have been hanged as traitors to the Crown.

So much, then, for “the right to revolution” — a right entirely dependent on the fortunes of war.

The union of “Independent States” described in the Declaration was therefore a military alliance for mutual self-defense, as the representatives of the rebellious colonies “in Congress, Assembled” pledged their common purpose. There could be no separate peace — the King and Parliament could not hope to enter into negotiations with Rhode Island or North Carolina, seeking a treaty that would break the alliance.

By the time it voted for independence and issued the Declaration, Congress had already appointed a committee to write a plan of common government. The Articles of Confederation were submitted to the states in 1777, but not finally ratified by all the states before 1781. The American victory at Yorktown in 1781 to all effects ended the Revolution, the peace secured in 1783 by the Treaty of Paris, which names the states whose independence was thereby recognized:

His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states . . .

So, by their united effort in war, these states had won their independence. Their common government under the Articles of Confederation was so severely flawed that, only six years after Yorktown, the need for changes led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. While the delegates to that convention had originally been authorized only to amend the Articles, it became obvious that the best thing to do was to start from scratch. Having overstepped their original authority, the Convention recognized that the new framework of government they had wrought would require ratification, and it was two years before a necessary nine of the 13 states had ratified it.

This ratification was conducted in each state by a special convention, and the debate was quite intense. Patrick Henry, among others, was in the anti-Federalist faction, warning that the Constitution granted too much power to the national government. It was to allay these concerns that the Bill of Rights was adopted immediately after ratification. Among those amendments, the 10th gave especial protection to the states, limiting the government to those powers delegated by the Constitution, and reserving the balance to the several states.

Now, we must pay careful attention to a key point about the Constitution, namely Article 7:

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

Which is to say that as many as four of the original states might have, by refusing to ratify the Constitution, exempted themselves from that government. And when nine states had ratified the Constitution, two of the largest states, New York and Virginia, still had not ratified it. It was not until 1790 that Rhode Island finally ratified — by which time the Bill of Rights, including the 1oth Amendment, had already been submitted to the states for ratification.

The idea that tiny Rhode Island might have gone its separate way might seem absurd — well, it would have spared us the obnoxious Sheldon Whitehouse — but its long delay in ratifying the Constitution shows that at the time of the Founding, there was a serious concern that this new government might be too powerful, a threat to those “Free and Independent States.”

Did these states, by ratifying the Constitution, thereby permanently forfeit their independence? Is there nothing the federal government could do — no act of the president or Congress, no decision of the Supreme Court — that would justify any state in saying, “OK, you’ve gone too far now”?

It would seem that Paul Rauh answers that question in the negative, that he denies that the states have retained any shred of their original independence, that no state has any just recourse if its citizens should feel that the federal government has overstepped its rightful bounds.

The states are therefore no longer states in any meaningful sense, and we no longer in fact have a federal system of government, but rather one vast unified empire of 300 million subjects, with whatever vestiges of the “states” remain being subject to obliteration so soon as it suits a majority in Congress (or the Supreme Court) to do so.

Ideas have consequences, as Richard Weaver once famously observed, and so it is with the idea of the indissoluble union. (Evidently, it’s like La Cosa Nostra — once you join, there’s no quitting.) What we now have is a national government without any effective limit to its power, except so far as regular elections may have any limiting effect. But if this also fails and the advocates of an all-powerful national government should obtain a permanent majority, what remedy can there be under Rahe’s theory?

As it is now, California and Illinois — both states deeply in thrall to the advocates of unlimited government — teeter on the verge of bankruptcy. Should the citizens of Texas or any other more thrifty state be compelled to pay for the federal bailout of a bankrupt state?

Even if one were to stipulate that South Carolina’s secession in 1860 was ill-advised and unjustified, it still does not follow that the states, in joining the Union, thereby foreswore forever any prior claim to sovereignty.

Paul Rahe should be glad he’s a professor of history in Michigan, and not in Texas. Those Texans can be mighty touchy about their independence, you know.

UPDATE: My good friend Stogie calls Professor Rahe “a misinformed Northern apologist,” which seems a tad too hostile. While we cannot rule out the possibility that Professor Rahe’s views are inspired by the all-too-common error of boreal supremacy — the belief that all things Northern are superior to all things Southern — I would not accuse anyone of such a hateful prejudice without solid evidence.

Stogie also reproduces a famous handbill:

C’mon, can I get a “Yeee-haaaww,” y’all?

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Sesquicentennial of WHAT?

From The Ohio Republic:

Dec 20, 2010 (18 hours ago)The Sesquicentennial of WHAT?from The Ohio Republic by Harold ThomasToday marks the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the union, which marks the logical beginning of observances remembering the war that ensued. Naming that war, however, is very tricky because the common names used for it are biased for one side or the other. In order from extreme unionist to extreme Confederate, we can call it: War of the Rebellion, Civil War, War Between the States, War for Southern Independence, War of Northern Aggression.

In fact, it was a war between two nations (one of which was unrecognized by anyone else) known as the United States of America and the Confederate States of America. In terms of international law, the Confederate States of America was de facto an independent nation (meaning that it functioned as one), but was not de jure (meaning that it was not accepted as such by other nations. This would have been accomplished for the Confederacy if it had executed a treaty with Britain or France, or if it had signed its longed-for Treaty of Peace with the United States).

Technically, it was not a "civil war" because that term refers to a war for control of the national (federal) government. The Confederates did not want to take over the United States Government -- they just wanted a nation of their own.

The "War for Southern Independence" is perhaps the most accurate name, but seems to reflect a moderately strong pro-Confederate bias. "War of the Rebellion" is also technically accurate, but reflects a very strong pro-Northern bias. I usually call it the War between the States, which is technically incorrect, but is descriptive and mildly pro-Southern.

So, take your pick, and we'll know what your bias is. Or, we could start calling it the "War of 1861", which is completely neutral but not very descriptive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Secession Day

From Confederate Digest:

Happy Secession Day!from Confederate Digest by J. Stephen ConnThe broadside shown below was published in Charleston, South Carolina 150 years ago - Dececember 20, 1860. It was an insert in the Charleston Mercury and measured 12" x 24". Printing began approximately 15 minutes after the secession ordinance passed, making South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States of America.

Here is the text:


Passed unanimously at 1.15 o'clock, P.M., December 20th, 1860


To dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled 'The Constitution of the United States of America.

We, the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained,

That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also, all acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of 'The United States of America,' is hereby dissolved.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Left's Obsession With Secession

From The American Conservative:

When a group called the Confederate Heritage Trust decided to hold a “Secession Ball” in Charleston, South Carolina, commemorating the 150th anniversary of South Carolina leaving the union, the event made national headlines. MSNBC host Ed Schultz said, “Conservatives in South Carolina are celebrating the destruction of the United States.” Schultz’s guest, civil rights activist Al Sharpton, said the event celebrated “treason.” Charleston NAACP president Dot Scott said “there’s nothing we can see where there should be a celebration of the Confederacy, not from our vantage point.”

Not surprisingly, each of these liberal critics assumed that only one vantage point need be considered–that of liberals.

The older I get, this “Southern Avenger” has come to recognize and accept that the War for Southern Independence means different things to different people. For generations, many Southerners remembered it with pride as a struggle for independence against a tyrannical government, similar to the American Revolution. Many other Southerners, and particularly black Southerners, consider it a reminder of slavery and the institutional racism that would linger for a century after. Both views contain much truth–and both are inadequate to tell the entire story.

And it is how the Confederacy’s story has been told–and the fact that those who’ve shaped the narrative have been almost entirely hostile to their subject–that continues to bother Southerners like me the most.

For starters, the notion that Southern secession was “treason” is technically true–and about as dumb as calling a father who refuses to report his pot-smoking son to the authorities an “enemy of the state.” When the 13 colonies seceded from England, were they committing treason? British authorities certainly thought so, though the colonists themselves didn’t think of themselves as traitors and neither did much of Europe. Much of Europe would also support the Confederacy.

Secession is a political act, similar in its ends to civil disobedience. Were Sharpton and his fellow 1960s civil rights protesters trying to “destroy the United States” in their struggle to resist an unjust political machine? Many white Southerners at that time certainly thought so. Yet, these so-called “agitators” were actually patriots who understood that loyalty to their own people sometimes meant defying the government. In fighting for the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee declared that his first loyalty was to Virginia, not Washington, D.C. This is patriotism proper, and those who say otherwise have a rather bizarre and perverted view of that term.

Another thing liberals are not quick to admit is the degree to which they seem to have a natural aversion to anything that takes power away from the central government. This sort of big government, quasi-socialist mentality is simply part of their political DNA. Never mind that it has been states’ rights that continue to keep gay marriage legal in some states. Never mind that it is a de facto nullification of federal drug laws in California that keeps medicinal marijuana legally available. Never mind that the most active secessionist movement in the United States today is the left-wing Second Vermont Republic, which seeks a better socialism for the Green Mountain State.

Still, these basic democratic and decentralist principles, championed by everyone from the ancient Greeks to Thomas Jefferson, remain nothing but sinister code words for racism in liberals’ minds. But is liberals’ anti-racism, in this regard genuine? Some of the earliest examples of nullification were states that resisted fugitive slave laws, in which federal law dictated that escaped slaves must be returned to their masters. Eric Foner, a fairly establishment historian with a preference for centralized government, writes of the abolitionists’ states’ rights arguments: “Radicals in some states invoked the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798-99, in which Jefferson and Madison had claimed for the states the power to challenge or even override national legislation… . Some Republicans spoke of nullification.” Abraham Lincoln critic and author Thomas DiLorenzo has noted that Foner praises Lincoln for denouncing nullification and upholding the Fugitive Slave Act, which sent escaped slaves back into bondage because it was the “rule of law.”

So was Lincoln pro-slavery? When the Southern states seceded, Lincoln supported adding an amendment to the Constitution that would forever protect slavery under federal law. Lincoln hoped this might coax the South back into the union. Obviously, it didn’t work. So when praising Lincoln today, why isn’t this rather significant detail part of the “Great Emancipator” narrative? Because his admirers prefer to portray a wholly benevolent leader.

When civil rights leaders commemorate the memory and legacy of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, or most recently the 15th anniversary of 1995′s Million Man March in Washington, D.C., why do they leave out of their celebrations well documented examples of anti-white rhetoric and anti-Semitism? Because they prefer instead to stress the many positive aspects of black nationalism. And they should.

When Southerners commemorate the memory and legacy of their Confederate ancestors by holding a “Secession Ball,” why do they leave out of their celebration slavery and the other negative aspects of that time period? Because they prefer instead to stress the many positive aspects of Southern secession. And they should.

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Day In History

From Rebellion:

This day in history

In 1860, the South Carolina Secession Convention convened at First Baptist Church, Columbia. The vote was 169-0 to exercise their 10th Amendment right to secession and resumption of their sovereignty as an independent republic

Southern Secession

From Southern Heritage & Liberty Articles:


Terrorists And Socialists Caused Southern Secession

The 150 year sesquicentennial begins on December 20, 2010 marking the secession of Southern states and the formation of a new nation-The Confederate States of America. On this date 150years ago delegates at South Carolina's secession convention voted to secede from the Union. The rapid secession of 10 more Southern states followed in the winter and spring of 1861 and the CSA was formed.

The states constitutionally, legally, and honorably withdrew from the Union (U.S.A.) and resumed their pre-Union sovereign status. Several states including New York and Virginia had specifically reserved the right to withdraw from the Union when they joined the Compact of 1787 which was ratified in 1789 as the Constitution of the United States of America. The historical precedent for secession was well established. Early attempts at secession were made by the Northern states of Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1803 and 1814 in opposition to the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812. All early U.S. presidents including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson recognized the right and stated "let them go in peace if they so desire".

Military cadets at West Point Military Academy were taught that secession was legal through a text book "Rawle's View of the Constitution". Up until 1861 most politicians and citizens in America considered secession legal. Prior to becoming U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln on the floor of Congress on Jan.12,1848 stated "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. This is a most sacred right — a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. 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 territory as they inhabit". What caused Lincoln to reverse his opinion in 1861? When asked "Why not let the South go in peace" he replied "Let the South Go? I can't let them go. What would become of my tariff (taxes)".

Only the misinformed and uneducated believe that the North (Union) invaded the Confederate States of America for the express purpose of freeing slaves. All wars are fought over 4 things - money, resources, land, and power (empire). There was, however, a small group of New Englanders who wanted war for that purpose. It Was A Coalition Of New England economic interests (greed) With The New England radicals, fanatics, zealots and hypocrites that caused the Southern secession movement. These New England terrorists threatened and carried out terrorist activities in Kansas and Virginia through psychopath John Brown. The Civil War actually began in Kansas in 1854, not April 12,1861 at Ft. Sumter South Carolina. In 1857, terrorist Hinton Helper published a book "The Impending Crisis" demanding instant Abolition with the alternative being the mass murder of Southern men, women, and children. In the U.S. Congress 68 of 117 Republicans had signed a resolution supporting such terrorist activities against the South. Terrorism cased Southern secession.

Abraham Lincoln acted with deceit in setting up the Ft. Sumter incident in April 1861 with the express intent of starting a war. Original correspondence documents prove this fact. There was also much socialist involvement in creating the war. Lincoln's assistant secretary of war, Charles A. Dana was a socialist who had went to Europe and been instructed by the infamous socialist Karl Marx. The new book "Red Republicans And Lincoln Marxists" furnishes the details. The new Republican party formed in 1854 was socialist and worked to create war. Karl Marx coached Lincoln and Dana on how to start the war and blame the South. Many European socialists from the failed European socialist revolution of 1848 came to America and served as Union military officers.

Lincoln burned and shut down 200-300 Northern newspapers in 1861 because they supported the South's constitutional right to secede. It was the worst violation of 1st Amendment rights ever committed in America. He jailed about 200,000 Northern war protesters without warrant or trial - 38,000 for the duration of the war. An unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and criminal war of aggression was carried out 1861-65 by the Union against the CSA. After the War Of Northern Aggression ended in 1865 the Native American Indians in the West received the same treatment.

James W. King

Commander Sons Of Confederate Veterans

Camp 141 Albany Georgia

posted by rebshadow @ 3:14 PM

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Latest Nonsense About lincoln

From Lew

The Latest New York Times Nonsense About Lincoln

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: The Most Cynical and Hypocritical Speech Ever Delivered

At the outset of the War to Prevent Southern Independence both Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress declared publicly that the sole purpose of the war was to save the union and not to interfere with Southern slavery. Lincoln himself stated this very clearly in his first inaugural address and in many other places. This fact bothers the court historians of the Lincoln cult who have in the past forty years rewritten American history to suggest that slavery was the sole cause of the war. (A generation ago, if one took a college course on "the Civil War" it was likely that one would have read The Causes of the Civil War by Kenneth Stampp, a former president of the American Historical Association.)

The latest attempt to rewrite or whitewash history comes from one Richard Striner in a December 13 New York Times article entitled "How Lincoln Undid the Union." The gist of Striner’s argument is that: 1) a compromise to save the union was in the works in Washington in December of 1860; but 2) Lincoln persuaded key members of the Republican Party to oppose it because it might not have prohibited the extension of slavery into the new territories, a key feature of the 1860 Republican Party platform. Lincoln wanted to save the union, says Striner, but he wanted a union that would put slavery "on the path to extinction."

What rubbish. The notion that prohibiting the extension of slavery would somehow magically cause the end of Southern slavery has always been totally nonsensical. As University of Virginia Historian Michael Holt wrote in his book, Fate of Their Country (p. 27), "Modern economic historians have demonstrated that this assumption was false." It is every bit as nonsensical as Lincoln’s crazy assertion that the extension of slavery into the Territories would have somehow led to the re-introduction of slavery into Maine, Massachusetts, and other states that had legally abolished slavery! (He ludicrously said that a nation "could not exist" half slave and half free). It is hard to believe that rational human beings ever believed such things. It is unlikely that many Americans of Lincoln’s time did.

Striner pretends to be able to read Lincoln’s mind when he speculates that his motivation was to put slavery "on the road to extinction." He does not quote Lincoln himself as saying that this was his motivation; he merely speculates and fabricates a story. But Lincoln and other prominent Republicans did in fact state very clearly what their motivation was. There is no need to speculate. As Professor Holt, the history profession’s preeminent expert on the politics of the antebellum era wrote: "Many northern whites also wanted to keep slaves out of the West in order to keep blacks out. The North was a pervasively racist society where free blacks suffered social, economic, and political discrimination . . . . Bigots, they sought to bar African-American slaves from the West." Lincoln himself clearly stated that "we" want the Territories "for free white labor."

Thus, part of Lincoln’s motivation for opposing the extension of slavery – but making an ironclad defense of Southern slavery in his first inaugural address – was pandering to northern white supremacist voters (like himself) who did not want any blacks – free or slave – living among them. There was also a protectionist motivation, as the Republican Party wanted to prohibit competition for jobs from all blacks, free or slave. Illinois – Land of Lincoln – even amended its Constitution in 1848 to prohibit the emigration of black people into the state, a position that was endorsed by Lincoln. (Lincoln was also a "manager" of the Illinois Colonization Society, which sought to use state tax funds to deport the small number of free blacks who resided in the state.)

A third motivation for Lincoln’s opposition to slavery extension was purely political. If slaves entered the Territories, they would inflate the congressional representation of the Democratic Party when the Territories became states because of the Three-Fifths Clause of the Constitution. That in turn – and most importantly – would block the Republican Party’s economic agenda. Professor Holt quotes Ohio Congressman Joshua R. Giddings (p. 28) on this point: "To give the south the preponderance of political power would be itself a surrender of our tariff, our internal improvements, our distribution of proceeds of public lands . . . . It is the most abominable proposition with which a free people were ever insulted." It would destroy everything the Republican Party claimed to stand for, in other words, i.e., mercantilist economics. This is the real reason why Lincoln was so adamant about opposing the extension of slavery into the territories.

Besides his demonstrably false, speculative fantasies about Lincoln’s supposedly saintly motivations, Striner presents a very distorted and misleading account of the events of late 1860–early 1861. He quotes a private letter from Lincoln expressing his opposition to the particular compromise to save the union that was being sponsored by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky at the time, but makes no mention of Lincoln’s own "compromise" that was also in the works. The high priestess of the Lincoln Cult, Doris Kearns-Goodwin, describes Lincoln’s compromise on page 296 of her book, Team of Rivals. As soon as he was elected, Lincoln "instructed [William] Seward to introduce [the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution] in the Senate Committee of Thirteen without indicating they issued from Springfield." The Corwin Amendment, which did pass the House and Senate, would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. As Goodwin writes, Lincoln instructed Seward to make sure that the amendment said that "the Constitution should never be altered so as to authorize Congress to abolish or interfere with slavery in the states" where it existed. In addition, writes Goodwin, Lincoln instructed Seward, who would become his Secretary of State, to get a federal law introduced that would have made various personal liberty laws that existed in some Northern states illegal. These state laws were meant to nullify the federal Fugitive Slave Act, an act that Lincoln very strongly supported. Far from putting slavery "on the path to extinction," these actions of Lincoln’s would have granted it more powerful government support than ever. Thus, Lincoln’s actions in late 1860–early 1861 were exactly the opposite of how Professor Striner portrays them as being with regard to the issue of slavery.

The white supremacists of the North were very pleased indeed with Lincoln’s assurances that he would do all that he could to prohibit black people from ever living among them, first by keeping them out of the Territories, and second by enshrining Southern slavery explicitly in the Constitution. He effectively promised to keep black people far away from such places as Boston, Massachusetts. Goodwin writes that when Seward went public and announced these actions to a Boston audience he was met with "thunderous applause."

On March 4, 1861, Lincoln praised the Corwin Amendment in his first inaugural address, offered his support of it, and said that while he believed slavery to already be constitutional, he had no reservations about making it "express and irrevocable" in the text of the U.S. Constitution.

These actual historical facts paint a very different picture of Lincoln’s machinations from the one based on Professor Striner’s baseless speculations and historical distortions. More disturbingly, Professor Striner, like all other Lincoln cultists, makes no mention at all of the fact that Lincoln’s actions led to the mass murder of some 350,000 fellow American citizens, including more than 50,000 Southern civilians, along with an equivalent number of Northern war deaths. While virtually all the rest of the world had ended – or was in the process of ending – slavery peacefully, Lincoln cultists actually praise Lincoln for eschewing that well-charted peaceful route to emancipation while plunging his country into the bloodiest war in human history up to that point to supposedly "save the union." There is something awfully sick (and sickening) about this.

December 16, 2010

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] 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 and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2010 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why The Civil War [sic] Was Not About Slavery

How about an article about why the "Civil War" was not a civil war?

From Saber Point and Rebellion:

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Why The Civil War Was Not About Slavery

By Donald W. Livingston, Professor of Philosophy, Emory UniversityMember, Sons of Confederate Veterans

President, Abbeville Institute

Reprinted With Permission

Donald W. Livingston

American historians up to the 1960s tended to treat the War Between the States as a tragic or as a bungling affair. The moral challenge posed by slavery was seen as an aspect of why war broke out, but one overshadowed by deep and long standing constitutional, economic, and political conflicts. Today, however, historians, inspired by Marxist-style analysis, preach the one-dimensional doctrine that the conflict at its core was a moral struggle over slavery. The South was willing to destroy the Union in order to protect slavery and expand it. The North fought to eliminate slavery by preserving the Union. A recent historian, for instance, writes “It is an astonishing anomaly that … for one hundred years historians and commentators attempted to exorcise slavery as relevant or to downplay it as incidental to the conflict. Recent scholarship has at last acknowledged that the participants, after all, knew what they were contending about. Slavery, its expansion or limitation, its abolition or perpetuation was what the war was all about.”1

Another historian writes “that Southerners seceded over one thing and fought over one thing, slavery.” A recent biographer of Robert E. Lee says of Lee “He was a leader in the Southern rebellion, in which so many fought so nobly for such a bad cause.”2

Robert Penn Warren, a Pulitzer Prize poet and novelist, witnessed the birth of this new style of writing history in the early 1960s, and wrote a devastating critique of it in The Legacy of the Civil War. Through the myth of a holy crusade to abolish slavery, Americans had illegitimately acquired what he called a great “treasury of virtue.” Even historians who know the myth is a distortion have generally not written history in a way to criticize it. The National Park Service has ordered every Civil War battlefield park in the nation exhibit the theme that the war was “about slavery.” This was the theme of Ken Burns’ TV series on the Civil War in which Lee was presented as “a traitor.” The series was very popular and prompted the conservative columnist George Will to gush that it was a demonstration of what television is for. The myth has been taught for generations in public schools and colleges. References to it are frequently heard in political speeches, commemoration speeches of all kinds, the media, in film, and in sermons from mainline churches. People in Argentina, Tokyo, Paris, Moscow and Australia who know next to nothing about American history know that the Civil War was “about slavery.” The upcoming sesquicentennial year commemorating the beginning of the War to Prevent Southern Independence promises to be a long, extended speech explaining how the war was “about slavery.” The myth, however, is not true. What is essentially wrong with it is not that it obsessively focuses on slavery while omitting facts contrary to the myth (though it does that), but that it reads a moral meaning into the conflict over slavery that did not exist. It leads us to believe that the North’s “antislavery” was a correct response to the moral challenge, whereas the South was “pro-slavery” and reprehensibly turned its back on the moral challenge. In what follows we shall see that what Warren called America’s great “treasury of virtue” is filled with fool’s gold that morally corrupts all who exploit it.

The first thing to appreciate is slavery was, from the very first, a national enormity, an American sin for which every section of the Union bore some responsibility. This, however, is not how we have been trained to think. We think of slavery as an alien and “un-American” practice confined to the South in the 19th century. But an honest look at American history reveals a quite different picture. Slavery was woven into the economic, political, and cultural fabric of the Northern states from the beginning. The first African slaves were brought to New England in 1638 in exchange for enslaved Indians. Boston began importing slaves from Africa in 1644. For 164 years New Englanders sold slaves throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The Puritans who settled in New England were part of a larger group, the rest of whom settled in the West Indies and began sugar planting which required an especially brutal form of labor with a high mortality rate. New England slave traders supplied the demand for labor and formed marriages and other alliances with their Puritan kinsmen in the West Indies. By the end of the Revolution, slavery had been a respected institution in New England for around 140 years. One out of four families in Connecticut owned slaves. And there were slave plantations in the region. One out of fourteen people in Rhode Island was a slave, and around 50 percent of ministers owned slaves.3

The dark story of New England’s involvement in the practice of slavery has been hidden from general public perception until recently, when three New England journalists published Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery (New York: Random House, 2005). They express their utter shock in discovering New Englanders approved the slave trade and the practice of slavery in their States. They ask “How could we not know this?” And the answer is “Northerners have pushed much of their early history into the deepest shadows of repression … Slavery has long been identified in the national consciousness as a Southern institution.” The time to bury that myth is overdue. Slavery is the story of America, all of America. The nation’s wealth, from the very beginning, depended upon the exploitation of black people on three continents. Slavery, they continue, was a “national phenomenon. The North shared in the wealth it created, and in the oppression it required.” What is truly astonishing, however, is it took so long for these New England journalists to discover facts in their own backyard that were not difficult to uncover.4

Nor are they entirely emancipated from Warren’s “treasury of virtue,” for their book is titled Complicity. It is misleading, however, to say the North was complicit in American slavery. It was foundational. The slave trade began and was carried out mainly by New England States for more than a century and a half. The wealth piled up by New England and New York was generated by servicing slave economies throughout the Western Hemisphere. The purchase of slaves and land in the South and elsewhere was financed by Northern banks; slave-produced staples were transported in Northern ships and insured by Northern companies. The global industrial revolution was based on textile manufacturing which generated an insatiable demand for cotton throughout the world. It is no exaggeration to say the New York City of 1860 was built on slave produced cotton. So was the New England textile industry. Some 75 to 90 percent of federal revenue came from the Southern export trade. The federal government was funded from the first up to 1860 by slave labor.

Slavery, then, was a national enormity integral to the entire economic and political structure of the United States from the beginning. Its elimination, therefore, morally demanded a national solution where all would share, to some degree, in the sacrifices and costs necessary to remove it. From our perspective, the morally right thing would have been a nationally funded program to emancipate slaves, compensate slave owners for their loss, and integrate the African population into American society as social and political equals. Yet, throughout the entire antebellum period, no national political party of any importance ever proposed emancipation, much less compensation and integration. The South could not have seceded and fought to reject a morally responsible solution urged by the North because no such program was ever proposed or even contemplated.

Why not? There were two reasons. First, there was no national program because there was no nation in the modern sense of the term. America was an inchoate federation of States, not a centralized nation-state on the model of Britain or France. Everyone understood that slavery was a domestic institution governed entirely by the laws of each State. Congress simply had no constitutional authority to interfere with slavery in the States. Nor did Congress want that power. On March 3, 1861, Congress passed an amendment to the Constitution making it impossible ever to amend the Constitution to give Congress power over slavery in the States. Lincoln approved the amendment in his first Inaugural Address.

Since Congress had no power over slavery, and did not want such power, the only way to abolish slavery would be through individual state action or by an amendment to the Constitution. No such amendment was ever proposed during the antebellum period, or even seriously contemplated. One reason is that Northerners were not at all willing to help pay for emancipation. They viewed slavery as entirely the South’s responsibility, willfully ignoring their own foundational and continuing participation in an economy and political order to which slavery was integral. But there was more to the North’s lack of interest in emancipation than a refusal to compensate slave owners. If slaves were freed nationally, they would be part of a national American society, but as we shall see, Northerners absolutely refused to integrate free Africans into their States.

If no national political party put forth an emancipation plank during the entire antebellum period, how did the myth ever arise that the war was a great moral struggle between those wanting to protect slavery and those wanting to abolish it? The myth is possible because of the confused and confusing way many Americans think about morality. We can best appreciate this by exploring the logic of the myth.

Most all antebellum Americans believed two propositions. The first proposition is that slavery abstractly considered (that is independent of posi­tive law, circumstance, and custom) is a violation of natural law. This was as true of Southerners as Northern­ers. Lincoln makes this clear in one of his debates with Douglas: “Before pro­ceeding, let me say I think I have no prejudice against the Southern people. If slavery did not now exist amongst them, they would not introduce it.”5

Why not? Because Southerners, like most Americans, thought that slavery abstractly considered is a violation of natural law.

The second proposition held by most Americans and especially by Northerners is the African population was never to be part of the American polity. These two propositions are not contradictory, but they exist together in tension. If slavery, abstractly consid­ered, is a violation of natural law, then slaves in America should be freed. But if America is a white European polity to which Africans are never to belong, then, even if freed, they would be in a permanently servile position without the protections of the master who had, if nothing else, an economic interest in the welfare of the slave.

The moral tension between the two propositions is that between the God-given natural right of freedom and the manmade political right to be a citizen of a certain country. Even if it is true that all men have a God given natural right to freedom, it does not follow that all men have a political right to be citizens of the United States, or citizens of Israel which is a Jewish state, or of Pakistan which is an Islamic state. Whether an alien African population brought over by force and bound by force should be citizens of the United States is a ques­tion to be decided by those with the authority to grant political rights, and this will require nice judgments about their traditions and cultural identity (what makes them a people), and what barriers those erect, if any, to assimilat­ing the alien population into their pol­ity. Americans were white European Protestants with an ethic of individu­alism, a Protestant work ethic, and an ideology of progress. The African pop­ulation was only two generations from tribal existence, uneducated, with no European past, and with only an ab­stract racial identity based on common bondage. It is doubtful one could find a parallel in history of two peoples less likely for social and political integra­tion than these two.

So the American response to the moral challenge of slavery had to be filtered through these two beliefs: that slavery in the abstract is wrong and the African population is never to be integrated into the social and political fabric of America. Given the tension generated by these two propositions, a conditional justification for slavery could be given. Although natural law teaches that slavery is wrong, it also teaches when confronted with a choice of policy, one should always choose what does the most good and the least harm. Thus Thomas Aquinas taught al­though prostitution is a sin and harms society, making it illegal could pro­duce more harm than good. He judged the natural law teaching on prostitu­tion is it should be legally tolerated but contained.

Likewise, if freed blacks were not to enjoy social and political rights and were to live as pariahs, which would push them into vagabondage and crime, then arguably emancipation in some cases would do more harm than good. If so, then slavery as a way of manag­ing what was perceived to be an alien African population until some better arrangement could be found would be justified as a matter of prudence by the same natural law that declares all men have an inalienable right to freedom. This was an awkward position to be in, but it was how most antebellum Amer­icans, North and South, thought of their condition. And, unhappily, they never moved beyond it in confronting the moral challenge of slavery.

Consider Lincoln’s remarks in a debate with Stephen Douglas, Septem­ber 18, 1858: “I will say then that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of bring­ing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … there is a physical dif­ference between the white and black races which I believe will forever for­bid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other men am in favor of having the supe­rior position assigned to the white race.”6

In the manner of St. Thomas, Lin­coln did not object to slavery as long as it was confined to the South. He laid out the possibilities confronting Americans: “What then? Free them all, and keep them among us as un­derlings? Is it quite certain this betters their condition? What next? Free them, and make them politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can­not then, make them equals.” Lincoln confessed he could not think of an ac­ceptable solution to the moral problem of slavery: “If all earthly power were given to me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution.”7

Why was this supposedly greatest of all American statesmen stumped? Why did he not propose a nationally funded emancipation? He himself was caught in the grip of the tension be­tween the two propositions just men­tioned above, between natural rights and political rights. Consider another passage where Lincoln fully embraces the conflict between natural rights and political rights at the expense of natural rights: “Negroes have natural rights … as other men have, although they can­not enjoy them here, and Taney once said the Declaration of Independence was broad enough for all men. But though it does not declare that all men are equal in their attainments or social position, yet no sane man will attempt to deny the African upon his own soil has all the natural rights that instrument vouch­safes to all mankind.”8

The only solu­tion Lincoln ever offered to the moral challenge of slavery was deportation of free blacks back to Africa — to their “own soil.”

The only place where the African population was accepted as part of soci­ety was in the South. There blacks were integrated into society through the family, i.e.; the plantation household. Southerners had come to think that the native soil of blacks was Virginia and Georgia, not Africa. There was subordination in the Old South but not segregation. Slaves attended the same church as their masters. Only ten per­cent of Southerners even owned slaves, and half of those owned fewer than five. A third owned one or two. Half the owners worked in the fields with their slaves; ate with them; lived on the same property with them, and some­times in the same house. Slave owners traveled in public transport with their servants. This social intimacy, as we will see, was extremely distasteful to Northerners who worked to remove themselves as far as possible from the African population with a determina­tion that has been erased from general historical memory.

This was especially true of New England. Early in the 19th century New England Federalists worked out the first nativist racial ideology. New Englanders thought themselves to be a superior race because descended from pure Anglo-Saxon Puritan stock. There was some truth in this. There had been hardly any immigration into New Eng­land from 1620 to the 1820s. For two centuries the original Puritan stock had intermarried to form a strong re­gional identity. They thought the blood of the rest of the Union was diluted by foreign peoples who did not have a title to be the “true Americans.” Particularly disgusting was the South with its mixture of French, Spanish, Ab­original and even African blood. The defeat of John Adams and the election of Thomas Jefferson as president was a racial trauma for New Englanders. They referred to him contemptuously as the first “Negro president.” Jefferson had lived with Africans for so long that to New Englanders he had become Af­rican. His election meant that inferior and racially compromised Southern­ers would come to dominate the Union, and his purchase of the Louisiana terri­tory, which more than doubled the size of the Union, confirmed their worst fears. They saw it as a plot by Virginia to dominate the Union which would turn it into a mongrel nation instead of one controlled by a morally superior, white Anglo-Saxon New England.

The story of New England racism is another narrative that has been sup­pressed by our popular national his­tory. But a window has been opened in this self-imposed ignorance by Joanne Pope Melish in her book Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and Race in New England, 1780-1860. She asks how did New Englanders view the emancipation of their native blacks and the prospect of integrating them into New England society? She points out state laws did not emancipate slaves outright, but rather freed those born after a certain date and upon achieving a certain age, usually eighteen for fe­males and twenty-one for males. This was a form of compensated emanci­pation which allowed the slaveholder — not only to use the labor of the slave — but to sell him or her before the day of emancipation.

What about those who remained? During the transition period from slavery to emancipation, slaves were not educated with the end in view of integration into New England society. Instead they were treated as slaves and continued to exist in a servile condi­tion after emancipation. They were tightly segregated into shantytowns at the edge of townships. These were often raided and burned. In some cas­es corpses were dug up and removed from the township. Melish estimates that from one-fifth to one-third of all violence done to blacks and abolition­ists in the North was done by New Englanders.9

When after emancipation, the so­cial pathologies of the black community did not improve, rather than shoulder part of the responsibility (failure to ed­ucate and integrate), New Englanders developed a theory of racial inferiority to explain the lag. Indeed, the first sci­entific theories arguing blacks were not members of the same species as whites were developed in the North. Josiah Nott was from one of Connecticut’s oldest families and a brilliant scientist. He saw that insects spread yellow fe­ver and anticipated Darwin’s theory of evolution. He collaborated with the distinguished Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz on a massive treatise The Types of Mankind, which argued blacks and whites are not of the same species in the same way that whites are distinct from monkeys.

Since Agassiz and Nott were among the most respected scientists of their day, it is worth observing the moral implications of their theory. In a letter describing an encounter with blacks, Agassiz wrote “Seeing their black faces with their fat lips and their grimacing teeth, the wool on their heads, their bent knees, their elongated hands, their large, curved fingernails, and above all the livid color of their palms, I could not turn my eyes from their face in order to tell them to keep their distance.”10 Josiah Nott jokingly described his theory that blacks were of a different species as niggerology.11 It was widely believed in the North that, if freed, blacks, could not compete with the white man and would eventually die out. Jefferson Davis expressed shock in hearing Northern senators speak of the extermination of blacks as a matter of course. Even New England’s great moralist Ralph Waldo Emerson shared this view: “the dark man, the black man declines … It will happen by & by, that the black man will only be destined for museums like the Dodo.”

The system of racial segregation leading to the gradual elimination of New England’s indigenous African population was mirrored everywhere in the North and West. The 1820 constitution of Missouri prohibited free blacks from entering the State. The Constitution of Oregon ratified in 1857 excluded free blacks and mulattos: “No free Negro, or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of adoption of this constitution, shall ever come, reside, or be within this state, or hold any real estate, or make any contract, or maintain any suit therein; and the legislative assembly shall provide by penal laws for the removal by public officers of all such free Negroes and mulattos … and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state, or employ or harbour them therein.” The Oregon constitution passed by a margin of 8 to 1. Its language prohibiting free blacks from entering the state was almost identical to that of the earlier constitutions of Illinois and Indiana. Every Midwestern state — Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota — as well as those in the Far West, California, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico — at one time or another passed measures to exclude free blacks from the state. Eugene Berwanger, who has carefully studied racial attitudes in the Western states, said “79.5 percent of the people of Illinois, Indiana, Oregon and Kansas voted to exclude the free Negro simply because of their prejudice.”12 Those blacks already in the state before exclusion laws were passed were subject to severe restrictions. In Lincoln’s state of Illinois, blacks were not citizens of the state, could not vote, could not sit on juries, could not use the courts to testify against white people, and the state refused to educate their children. And if this were not enough, their very movement was tightly restricted. The revised 1833 statutes of Illinois declared: “If any person or per sons shall permit or suffer any … servant or persons of colour, to the number of three or more, to assemble in his, her, or their out-house, yard, or shed, for the purpose of dancing or reveling, either by night or by day, the person or persons so offending shall forfeit and pay a fine of twenty dollars.” And free blacks guilty of such assemblies were “to be whipped, not exceeding thirty nine stripes on his or her back.” Cases abound of slaves escaping to free Northern states and being treated so badly that they would surrender themselves to authorities and request return to their master. Lincoln fully supported these shameful black codes and never once raised his voice against them during his political career in the state legislature.

These exclusion laws were successful and restricted the free black population of the Midwestern states to an average of around one percent. But even this minute number was considered too much. Serious efforts were made to colonize blacks abroad. Societies appeared with such names as “Ohio in Africa” and “Indiana in Africa.” The Ohio plan was to remove 600 free blacks a year out of the state until free of the entire black population. A delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention in 1847 said “I am in favor of removing [Negroes] not only from this state, but from all the States. Lincoln introduced a bill in the Illinois legislature to remove blacks from the state. J. C. Hall, leader of the colonization society in Iowa, said in a 1857 meeting Africans had never been part of the civilized world and could not compete with whites: “As long as they remain, they must be outcasts and inferiors. They can have no aspirations except as the objects of an unwelcome, hesitating and noisy charity.”

Colonization of blacks out of the country was the favored solution in the North to the problem of slavery. The various colonization societies read like a who’s who of American leaders: Madison, Marshall, Hamilton, Webster, Lincoln. But no one pushed the project harder than Lincoln. In debates with Douglas he had urged state and federal governments to fund programs of colo­nization. The same appeal was made in two state of the Union addresses and in the preliminary emancipation procla­mation. In 1862 he introduced a consti­tutional amendment to buy and deport slaves. He sent the State Department out to arrange treatises with European colonial powers to secure land for Ne­gro colonization. He explored possi­bilities in Haiti, Liberia, New Granada, Ecuador, St. Croix, Surinam, British Guiana, Honduras and the Amazon. In 1862 he urged Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to buy and deport slaves. In this plan slavery was to continue until 1900. At the end of his speech, Lincoln uttered the famous words: “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.”13 As with so many of Lincoln’s memorable phrases, these words have been taken to mean whatever those who quote them wish for them to mean. What Lincoln himself meant was America would continue to be torn — not by slavery as such — but by the presence of a large number of Negroes, whether free or not. The “last best hope of earth” referred to a purely white European polity free of racial strife, and not to a land of freedom for all as it is absurdly interpreted today.

Given the disposition of the vast majority in New England, the other Northeastern states, the Midwest, and the West to rid themselves of the free African population in their states, it is preposterous to claim such people in­vaded the South to emancipate slaves. And they did not. Yet there was a long-standing agitation about slavery in the antebellum period, and that was a fac­tor (though by no means the only one) in the decision of the Southern States to withdraw from the Union. This agi­tation, however, did not spring from a moral motive of concern for the liberty and well-being of the slave, but from other motives — and ones that were not always morally attractive. To ap­preciate this it is necessary to take a look at the main anti-slavery episodes in the antebellum period.

The first anti-slavery episode oc­curred at the Philadelphia Con­vention in 1787 over whether slaves should be taxed as persons and have representation in Congress or whether they should be taxed as property. New Englanders argued they should be treated as chattel and not represented in Congress. We must keep in mind that during this debate New Englanders were heavily en­gaged in the international slave trade and that many were well-accustomed to treating Africans as livestock. When criticized about his travels to Africa to buy slaves, John Brown (who with family support founded Brown Uni­versity), said “there was no more crime in bringing off a cargo of slaves than in bringing off a cargo of jackasses.”14

Southerners pointed out their laws gave the master ownership only in the labor of the slave, not his person. A com­promise was reached in which slaves were counted three-fifths for the pur­pose of representation in Congress. This did not mean, as it is tirelessly said to mean, that slaves were three-fifths of a human being, but only that slaves, so it was thought, could perform only three-fifths of the work of a free white man. Racially conscious New England­ers resented this rule. They demanded that only whites have representation in Congress. One cannot exaggerate the resentment New Englanders felt over the three-fifths’ rule for slaves. They complained about it continuously up to 1860. But this first national quarrel over slavery had nothing to do with a moral concern for the well-being of the slave. If anything, the New England position that slaves were like livestock was morally inferior to the Southern position that, though subordinate (like women and children), slaves were nev­ertheless persons needing protection and hence representation.

The second anti-slavery episode occurred over Jefferson’s close race with Aaron Burr for the presidency, which was decided in the House of Representatives. To New England Federalists this election was seen as illegitimate because with­out the slave representation Jefferson would not have won. Accordingly, as we have seen, racially conscious New Englanders referred to Jefferson as the first “Negro president.” It was in this connection that stories about a sexual liaison between Jefferson and one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, appeared. This supposed relation not only offended against New England’s white nativist ideology, it showed the extent to which Southerners had been dragged down by their long association with Afri­cans.

The Puritans saw themselves on a mission into a dark wilderness. Nature was something alien to be conquered and controlled by a strong will guid­ed by abstract reason. Southerners, in contrast, developed very early the myth of the South as a garden of Eden. Nature was to be respected, but it was also something to be embraced, culti­vated and enjoyed. New Englanders found this relaxed, comfortable rela­tion to nature in the South unsettling. For them, Africans were a symbol of undisciplined and uncivilized nature. By living in close association with Af­ricans, Southerners had reverted back to a more primitive state of nature, making them unworthy of leadership in an American Union that should be modeled on New England. From Jeffer­son’s election up to 1860, New England cultural elites launched an insistent campaign to demonize the character of Southerners. Two excellent studies of this are North Over South, by Susan Mary Grant, a British scholar; and Ann Norton’s Alternative Americas.

Thomas Goodwin, a Northern abo­litionist, could write in 1864 that South­erners had “African playmates … Afri­can attendants .… African recreations … African voices … African minds.” The inadequate notion of liberty and the relaxed morals of Southerners was “the direct influence of so large a population of half-barbarous Africans interspersed among them.”15 Southern­ers had become Negroized, and so were not true Americans as defined by New England elites.

The repressed sexuality of New Englanders found ample room for fantasy about the South’s descent into nature. Repression of sex meant ris­ing above nature to conquer it and so to advance civilization. Such was the meaning of the celibate marriage of the abolitionists Theodore Weld and Ange­la Grimke. Abolitionists supposed not only masters had a free hand with slave girls but that Africans (being creatures of nature), were oversexed and proved a source of temptation to masters and mistresses. One abolitionist wrote that “The Southern States are ONE GREAT SODOM.” A female New Englander placed the blame for interracial liaisons on the uncontrolled lust of slave wom­en. These she said “lured young slave holders into illicit attachments.” And John Rankin said “I could refer you to several instances of slaves actually seducing the daughters of their mas­ters.”16 It is hard not to see here more than a small bit of suppressed envy.

The agitation over the three-fifths rule and Jefferson’s election was cer­tainly about slavery, but it was not in the least about the emancipation and welfare of the African. Indeed, it was anti-African. Slavery was an evil be­cause it brought to America a large number of half-barbarous Africans. Southerners were corrupted by close association with Africans and were unfit to govern the Union, yet some­how they had acquired a commanding grip on it. As of 1860, 11 presidents had come from the South, only five from the North. Attorneys general: 14 from the South and five from the North. Supreme Court Justices: 17 from the South, 11 from the North. Speakers of the House, 21 from the South, 12 from the North. Southern character was not only barbarous (and secretly envied), it was also feared. Emerson bitterly ex­plained Southern political dominance by saying that Northerners knew how to control steam and machines, while Southerners knew how to control men.

The third anti-slavery episode was sparked by Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory from Na­poleon, his embargo, and Madison’s war with Britain. New Englanders were opposed to expansion westward which they thought was contrary to their in­terest and was part of a Southern plot to take over the Union. The Louisiana Purchase and Jefferson’s embargo on British shipping confirmed their worst fears, as did Madison’s embargo and declaration of war with Britain. New England government agencies, from juries to legislatures, nullified the em­bargo and refused to send troops in the War of 1812. None of this would have happened, they thought, if Virginia did not dominate the Union, and that would not have happened without the hated three-fifths’ rule that gave Afri­cans representation. Representative Jo­siah Quincy from Massachusetts said “the slave representation is the cause of all the difficulties we labor under.”

A Convention of New England States met at Hartford in 1814 and se­riously considered secession. The Con­vention sent commissioners to Wash­ington with a number of demands that had to be met as a condition for New England’s remaining in the Union. Among these were repeal of the three-fifths’ rule.

Talk of slavery was certainly a fac­tor in the nullification and secession movements that raged in New England from 1804 to 1814, but this talk revealed no concern for the emancipation and welfare of the African population. New England, until 1808, was still engaged in the African slave trade. The agitation was about how the South had come to dominate the Union and was pursuing policies not in New England’s commer­cial and political interests.

The fourth anti-slavery episode was in 1820 over admission of Missouri as a slave state. A compromise was reached by drawing a line across the continent, allowing slavery south of the line but prohibit­ing it north of the line. In our popular history, this is presented as a moral drama between those who were anti-slavery and those who were pro-slav­ery. But it was nothing of the sort. On the anti-slavery side was Senator James DeWolff of Rhode Island, who strongly opposed Missouri’s entrance as a slave state. We recall that DeWolff, one of the richest men in the country, had gained his wealth through the New England slave trade. His company had run some eighty voyages to Africa until the trade became illegal for Americans in 1808, only 12 years before the Missouri Com­promise. And DeWolff would continue trading in slaves in a foreign market.

What was the meaning of De­Wolff’s anti-slavery position? He was simply continuing the New England Federalist policies which had led to the secession movements in 1804-1814 — namely to weaken the expansion of the Southern agrarian interest which favored Westward expansion, free trade, and was opposed to a national bank and to government subsidies for business, all of which were in conflict with New England’s subsidized ship­ping, fishing and manufacturing inter­ests. DeWolff’s — and New England’s — anti-slavery position on admitting Missouri as a slave state was not in the least motivated by a moral concern for the welfare of the slave.

However, it is difficult for us to­day to read the expression anti-slavery without importing our own 21st centu­ry moral sensibilities into it. Unless his­torians go out of their way to correct us, we cannot help but think the Missouri controversy was a great moral drama between those who sought to keep Africans in slavery and those who sought to liberate them, or at least to limit ex­pansion of the evil. But that is most certainly not how the participants in the controversy thought. The freedom and welfare of the African population never crossed the mind of DeWolff and most other opponents of Missouri entering as a slave state. Yet there is an important compli­cation that needs to be addressed. As we have seen, nearly all Americans, including Southerners, as Lincoln ac­knowledged, believed that slavery ab­stractly considered is a violation of natu­ral law. Consequently, slavery could be justified only by positive law, or by natural law, if and only if circumstanc­es were such that eliminating it would do more harm than good.

This distinction between abstract principle and moral practice is difficult for Americans to grasp today because we have been trained to think about morals ideologically — to believe mo­rality is mostly a matter of adhering to abstract principles. To be sure, be­lieving in certain moral principles is a part of morality, but it is not the most important part. Moral merit attaches not to what one believes but to what one does or seriously intends to do. To believe in the abstract moral principle that slavery is wrong or that abortions of convenience are wrong conveys in­tellectual merit because one believes something which is true, but it con­veys no moral merit unless it is part of an action intended to end the evil.

Let us call a critique of slavery based merely on assertion of an ab­stract moral principle sentimental anti-slavery. Such a critique enables one to feel good about oneself without having to do anything about ending slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin enabled millions of Northern­ers to ignore slavery was a national evil and to feel good about themselves without having to acknowledge their own collective foundational and con­tinuing participation in an economy dependent on slave-produced staples. Most criticism of slavery in the North throughout the antebellum period was rooted in sentimental anti-slavery.

The use of sentimental anti-slav­ery to mask (often morally unworthy) economic and political motives is mor­ally corrupt because it singles out the slave owner for condemnation (while willfully ignoring the institution is a national evil) and because the critic has no intention of actually doing any­thing (for which there would be a cost) to eliminate it. Jefferson unmasked the sentimental anti-slavery agitation over Missouri by sardonically observ­ing that all the moralistic noise about preventing Virginia slaves from going to Missouri did not free a single slave in Virginia. The Missouri Constitution prohibited the entrance of any free Ne­groes, a provision which called forth no moralistic agitation, as it conformed entirely to Northern anti-Negro atti­tudes and practice.

That a genuine moral concern for the welfare of the slave played no part in the anti-slavery episodes we have ex­amined so far should not be surprising. James Banner, a historian of New Eng­land Federalism, observed throughout the entire North after the Revolution and for the next half-century there was no interest in a genuine moral critique of slavery: “Save for a few isolated lead­ers, no one spoke out vigorously and continuously in defense of manumis­sion, nor did the successful campaign against the slave trade engage the pub­lic interest or enter to any substantial degree into partisan debate.”17

The fifth anti-slavery episode was that brought on by a small num­ber of New England abolitionists, usually marked by the appearance in 1831 of William Garrison’s journal The Liberator. One cannot accuse the New England abolitionists of sentimental anti-slavery. They certainly felt good about themselves for professing the ab­stract proposition that slavery is wrong, but they also called for action and were prepared to suffer for the cause. They held that slavery is a sin committed by the South against humanity, and they demanded immediate and uncompen­sated emancipation. The abolitionists at first proposed what their New Eng­land fathers had proposed in 1804-1814, namely secession of the North from the South. This would free them from complicity in the slave economy and fatally weaken the institution in the South. Jeffrey Hummel, in Emancipat­ing Slaves and Enslaving Freemen, has recently defended this abolitionist argu­ment that secession of the North was the best way to end slavery.

As the Abolitionist movement de­veloped, however, more violent meth­ods were urged. Lysander Spooner of Massachusetts, a libertarian thinker of some merit, proposed infiltrating the South with armed units that would join black escapees and poor whites to form insurgent groups in wilder­ness areas. Spooner wrote to Bostonian abolitionist leader Wendell Phillips in 1840: “I think in five years, 500,000 men in the North would join and that nearly all the non-slave holders of the South would be with us. Cultural elites such as minister Theodore Parker, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and Stephen Foster encouraged the plan.” Wendell Phillips paid for printing 500 copies of a handbill explaining the plan, and hoping, as he said, to “spread panic” among Southerners. The South was flooded with flyers and pamphlets of this kind proposing insurrection and advocating terrorist tactics such as poi­soning well water and the like.

In time the hatred of abolitionists would be directed to all Southerners — whether they owned slaves or not. John Brown killed Southern farmers in Kansas who did not own slaves and was praised by New England elites for doing so. His mission to seize weapons at the Federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry for a slave insurrection was funded by New England elites.18 After it failed, he was executed, and immediately be­came an abolitionist hero and martyr. Today he is still admired by a certain kind of American.

The only part of the Abolitionist movement that had moral merit was the early effort to effect the North’s se­cession from the Union as the best way of putting slavery on the road to extinc­tion. That proposal had real promise of effecting a beneficial change. But it was the terrorist part of the movement that came to dominate. That part, how­ever, must be repudiated as morally reprehensible. The project of ending slavery is a morally worthy one, but not if one uses immoral means. Some 50 million babies have been killed in America through abortions, usually for the purpose of birth control. That is morally reprehensible, but it does not justify killing abortionists or bombing abortion clinics, which is the counter­part of what abolitionists recommend­ed for Southerners. This Puritan vision of slaying in the name of the Lord is celebrated in The Battle Hymn of the Re­public which sadly has become an icon of American national identity.

Mainline historians either praise the abolitionists or are muted or mild in their criticism. It is said that, though violent and uncompromising in their rhetoric, they at least awoke the North to the moral problem of slavery. But they did no such thing. All they did was loudly assert an abstract moral principle to which they professed al­legiance, demonize Southern character, demand immediate and uncompen­sated emancipation, and advocate ter­rorist tactics. No one had to tell Ameri­cans slavery abstractly considered is a violation of natural law. That was not the moral problem. The moral problem was to put forth a practical proposal to end slavery that would do more good than harm to all sides concerned. This would have to include some form of emancipation, compensation to slave­holders, and integration into American society.

Abolitionists, however, had noth­ing to offer but immediate and uncom­pensated emancipation, and failing that, terrorism. These demands were as unjust as they were practically im­possible. No emancipation could be just that did not include compensation, and that was not proposed. The abolitionists made no contribution whatso­ever to the real moral challenge posed by slavery. What they did was heat pas­sions up to the boiling point, making rational discourse about the problem impossible. Their legacy lives on in the effacement from collective memory that slavery was a national evil (demanding a national solution, which Americans failed to provide) and in the self-congratulatory demonization of Southern character. It is this legacy that informs the official story that the war about slavery.

And perhaps here something should be said about Calhoun’s fa­mous remark that slavery is a positive good. This has been twisted by histori­ans to mean that Calhoun repudiated the American principle that slavery is a violation of natural law in favor of the unAmerican principle that slavery is a positive good. But he did no such thing. He made clear that he was not talking about slavery as an abstract moral prin­ciple at all, but about the merits and de­merits of an actual practice which the Union had inherited.19

By the 1830s Southerners were confronting an unreal situation. Their character was constantly vilified by abolitionists who let their imagina­tions run wild in decrying the evils of slavery, real and imaginary. Yet no morally responsible proposal was put forth to eliminate it. Since Northern­ers were not prepared to do anything about eliminating the institution, Cal­houn shifted attention away from ab­stract principle to an evaluation of the actual practice — something would have to be done in any serious attempt to reform or eliminate it. He argued the practice in fact did not corrupt the virtue and patriotism of Southerners as was claimed. And as to slaves, he observed they had arrived, a people torn from their tribal roots, in a barba­rous condition, but over time had grad­ually become civilized, Christian and a part (though a subordinate part) of Southern society. It was simply a fact, he said, that Africans had progressed under slavery, and Calhoun placed no limit on the future progress they could make. He urged the vicious attacks on Southern character cease (which ad­vanced no practical agenda in eliminat­ing the institution) and the institution be reexamined in another ten years.

Calhoun taught that liberty is a reward for virtue. This logically im­plies blacks who achieved the required level of virtue should be given more responsibility, and eventually freedom. Calhoun did not go out of his way to stress this point nor to propose a plan of gradual emancipation, but neither did anyone else at the time. The crude, ideological way historians have treat­ed Calhoun’s claim the institution of slavery had achieved some positive good is symptomatic of how ideologi­cal Americans have become and how deeply entrenched is the error that to claim allegiance to an abstract moral principle confers moral merit. Such historians can see in Calhoun’s remark only the assertion of the abstract moral principle that slavery is not a neces­sary evil but a positive good. From this they conclude Calhoun was an odious man. They simply cannot see he was not talking about principles at all, but was offering a concrete evaluation of the practice in the particular context of an American Union that had never intended for Africans to be part of the polity. Far from being odious, Calhoun appears as a judicious man of practical wisdom among strident moral adoles­cents who confuse allegiance to ab­stract principle with moral merit and who cannot perceive any moral merit which is not accompanied by a confes­sion of allegiance to an abstract moral principle.

And it should be added though ab­olitionists made much of the abstract principle that slavery is wrong, most of them shared the racist attitudes of most Northerners who recoiled from association with blacks. Senator Benja­min Wade of Ohio was a towering fig­ure in the Abolitionist movement, but he abhorred contact with blacks. He arrived in Washington in 1851, describ­ing it as “a God forsaken N…… ridden place.” He complained, “the food was all cooked by n…… until I can smell and taste the n……” Looking for a housekeeper in 1874, he complained “for mere n…… power it will cost over $500 a year.” He was determined to find a “white woman” because, “I am sick and tired of n…….” Wade said he did not like blacks, but he hated South­erners more.

The sixth anti-slavery episode was prompted by the Kansas-Ne­braska Act which abolished the Missouri Compromise line. Slavery would now be allowed in Western states if they chose to have it. The Act was passed in 1854. Prior to that time Lincoln had been silent on slavery. As a lawyer he had taken on the case of a slave owner seeking return of his slaves who had fled to Lincoln’s state of Illinois for freedom. He supported the cruel black codes in his state, and urged colonization of Africans abroad. But his political career was at its lowest point, and so after 1854, he began play­ing the anti-slavery card.

Prior to the war, Lincoln offered no practical solution to the moral challenge of slavery other than deportation. And though he rejected the abolitionists be­cause of their demand for immediate and uncompensated emancipation, he followed them in treating adherence to abstract moral principle as identical to morality. He said that the great struggle confronting Americans was that “One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended” [Lincoln’s italics].20 Here the conflict is structured in pure­ly ideological terms as a philosophical conflict between contrary beliefs in abstract moral principles, and not as a conflict over practical proposals of how to eliminate the evil of slavery. We are led to think Southerners simply think slavery is right and so are evil, while Northerners think it is wrong and are good.

But the truth was just the opposite. Americans were not divided between those who think slavery, abstractly considered, is right and those who think it is wrong. Most agreed that it violates natural law, but Northerners, did not want to live with free Africans in their midst. They were opposed to slavery in principle, but could not see eliminating it without having to inte­grate free blacks into their states, and that was not on the table for discussion. But to take that view is, in effect, to say slavery is acceptable as a practical matter. All of the practical difficulties and complications which emerge from a thoughtful understanding of the real moral challenge posed by slavery are flattened out by Lincoln and reduced to a conflict of belief about abstract principles. Rather than see this as a failure in moral understanding, it is celebrated today as a moral achievement.

This explains why our popular history presents Lincoln as a moral gi­ant in his opposition to the westward expansion of slavery. The great man, it is thought, drew a line in the sand beyond which the slave power could not go. But the no-slavery-in-the-West agitation which brought Lincoln to power (like the quarrel over allowing slavery in Missouri), had nothing to do with a moral concern for the libera­tion and welfare of the African popula­tion. It was about white Northern and Western interests which, among other things, included keeping free Negroes out of the West.

Moreover, there was no realistic possibility the plantation system could move west. As Charles Ramsdell has shown, the geography of the West did not lead itself to large-scale plantation agriculture.21 In the Western territories, under the Missouri Compromise line, where slavery could have expanded, there were only 17 slaves in 1860. But more importantly, there were moral limits. As we have seen, Western states were determined to keep free blacks out of their territory. Slave owners in West­ern states could never be secure. Those who ventured out soon left. There were 55 reported slaves in Kansas in 1856. By 1860 there were only two. The prospect of slavery moving west in the mid-fif­ties when Lincoln began exploiting the issue that made him president was non-existent. The real reason was stated by Charles Eliot Norton of Massachusetts, a militant liberal activist, a professor of art and literature at Harvard, and said to be one of the most cultivated men in America. He supported the free soil movement in the West in order to “confine the Negro within the South.”

Instead of proposing a national so­lution to the moral problem of slavery as he should have done, Lincoln played on racist fears and demonized the South as a great slave power likely to extend slavery not only over the West, but over the entire United States! This claim was preposterous, but Northerners were whipped up into a mass hysteria and believed it. Its legacy sur­vives today in the myth that the war was about the South’s desire to protect and expand slavery.

It is true Southerners insisted on the right to use the common territory as a matter of constitutional right, even though many knew it would not be used in practice to expand slavery. To renounce that right would mean the loss of other constitutional rights in a sectional Cold War over economic, political, and constitutional differences stretching back some fifty years. Be­sides, much good could come from al­lowing slaves to go West. As Jefferson suggested, one practical good would be that slaves could be taken West for emancipation. Diffusion of the African population over the continent would ease the racial tensions which would inevitably arise from emancipation. A small minority of blacks could be more easily integrated into white society than a large block of thirty to forty per­cent of a state’s population.

Here was a real morally responsi­ble proposal for gradual emancipation. Instead of deporting blacks to Africa, as Lincoln proposed, why not use the vast unoccupied territory of the West to allow slaves to work out their freedom? Southern philanthropists opposed to slavery secured land for just this purpose. John Randolph was one of these. He strongly supported the entrance of Missouri as a slave state, though he hated slavery. He provided in his will that property be bought in Ohio for the comfortable accommodation of 300 of his freed slaves. But the white citizens of Ohio refused them entrance. The freedmen returned to Virginia and asked to be wards of the state.

Why did not Lincoln urge a na­tionally funded program of gradual emancipation in the Western territories? The answer is that he lacked the moral courage and even the inclination to challenge the racial prejudices of his time. This is understandable, but it sits uneasily with the myth of the Great Emancipator and friend of black equal­ity.

The no-slavery-in-the-West plat­form that Lincoln ran on was merely a code word for no-Africans-in-the-West, slave or free. As a historian of Kansas put it, “The western settlers did not talk about the sinfulness of slavery; they despised the Negro.” The editor of the influential Chicago Tribune said the North’s greatest fear was “if the slaves were liberated, they would become roaming vagrants; that they would overrun the North and subsist by mendicancy and vagrancy; and that from the day they were made free, they would cease to work.” That might well be true if they had to live under the black codes of Lincoln’s Illinois, but not if they were gradually emanci­pated, endowed with basic civil rights, and given their own farms in the vast unsettled West.

The editor of the Chicago Times said “There is in the great masses of the peo­ple a natural and proper loathing of the Negro, which forbids contact with him as with a leper.” Senator Sherman of Ohio, brother of the Union general, said although most Northerners op­posed slavery in the abstract, they were also “opposed to having many Negroes among them.” These were spurned and hated all over the coun­try. The influential Illinois State Journal declared “The truth is the n…… is an unpopular institution in the free States … we confess that we have, in com­mon with nineteenth-twentieths of our people a prejudice against the n…….” Governor John M. Palmer, who became governor of Illinois, said that race, not slavery, was the real problem confront­ing Northerners: “It is the presence of the Negro race: a race which the senti­ments of our people doom to a condi­tion of racial and political inferiority beyond the reach of all efforts for their elevation.”

The editor of The Milwaukee Sentinel said the two races could never live to­gether in peace: “Whether it is instinct, reason or prejudice, is scarcely profit­able to discuss … It exists throughout the whole North and time seems to do little or nothing toward mollifying it.” An abolitionist said this about his fellow Midwesterners who supported Lincoln’s no slavery-in-the-West agita­tion: “They are more properly Negro haters, who vote Free-State to keep Negroes out, free or slave; one half of them would go for Slavery if Negroes were to be allowed here at all.” The in­herent sinfulness of slavery is not once thought of by them.

The Republican Party platform of 1856 declared “all unoccupied territo­ries of the United States, and such as they may hereafter acquire, shall be reserved for the white Caucasian race — a thing that cannot be except by the exclusion of slavery.” And Lincoln said keeping slavery out of the territories would free them from “the trouble­some presence of free Negroes.” The New York Tribune said barring slavery from the territories would “give them an opportunity to become what New England is now,” namely a uniquely white, morally superior, and enthusias­tically commercial society unpolluted by Africans and racially compromised Southerners.

To conclude. There was certainly a lot of anti-slavery talk in the antebel­lum period, but it did not have the mor­al content the official story implies. We have examined the major anti-slavery episodes from the Philadelphia Con­vention in 1787 to the Kansas-Nebras­ka Act of 1854. Not a single one was motivated by a moral intention to do something about freeing the African population or attending to its welfare. In every case the motive was the eco­nomic and political interests of white people in the North and West against those of the South. The African popu­lation was viewed from New England, throughout the North, and across the West as a pariah people to be removed from one’s presence as far as possible.

The South did not secede to protect slavery from a national plan of eman­cipation because no national political party proposed emancipation. Indeed, there was greater legal protection for slavery in 1860 than ever. And the South did not secede to expand slavery into the Western territories because given its geography and, more importantly, the racial attitude of Westerners, there was no realistic possibility of the plantation system moving West. Besides by leaving the Union, the Southern States lost all claim to the use of those territories. We should also note that the Confederate Constitution abolished the slave trade and allowed the entrance of non-slave-holding states. Confederates were not intent on spreading slavery to every state in the Confederacy, and the same people who wrote the Confederate Constitution were not disposed in the 1850s (contrary to Lincoln and the official story) to spread slavery throughout the United States.

It is true that some states gave attacks on slavery as their reason for seceding, but not all of them did. Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas at first refused to join the Confederacy. They reversed themselves after Lincoln ordered — what they considered an unconstitutional — invasion of the seceding states. As Lee said, he did not want to live in a Union held together by bayonets. Those states that did give attacks on slavery as their reason for seceding did not have in mind resistance to a morally responsible nationally funded program of emancipation, but the virulent, irresponsible attacks of abolitionists. Their long advocacy of a slave insurrection and terrorism was put in practice by John Brown and supported by national cultural elites and even government officials. When the governor of Virginia requested the return for trial of fugitives of Brown’s raid which had fled North, the governors of Ohio and Iowa refused to comply, even though the Constitution requires governors to return fugitives from justice to the state where the alleged crime occurred when requested by the governor of that state. South Carolina, Texas and Mississippi mentioned this break-down in the rule of law as one of their reasons for seceding.

And to this we should add Northern leaders, moving through the unchartered territory of the industrial revolution, were beginning to deny that America is a federation of States. They began talking of it as a unitary nationalist regime with the central government having plenary powers controlled, of course, by the North. This was contrary to the Jeffersonian vision of the Constitution as a federation of sovereign States, which dominated in the South and which was the view of many in the North as well. Lincoln got no electoral votes from the South. He was the first sectional president.

Southern fears the Republican Party was a revolutionary party seeking to destroy the federation of States in favor of a unitary state governed by the North was openly affirmed by Wendell Phillips, a nationally recognized leader in the abolitionist movement. Prior to Lincoln’s election, he gave a speech explaining the meaning of the Republican Party: “It is just what we have at tempted to bring about. It is the first sectional party ever organized in this country. It … calls itself national; but it is not national, it is sectional. The Republican Party is a party of the North pledged against the South.”22 If there were indeed two sections, with such strong identities that one could be pledged against the other, why not separate them and have two distinct federations of States? The Union was morally dissolved prior to the South’s secession.

The North did not acquire a “treasury of virtue” from prosecuting one of the bloodiest wars of the 19th century. Instead, it acquired a habit of self- righteousness and moral self-deception which unfortunately has become a national characteristic. Just as Northerners suppressed the obvious fact slavery was a national evil for which they bore some responsibility, so our popular history today cannot acknowledge the invasion and plundering of the South from 1861 to 1877 was an awful crime, as the great 19th-century liberal Lord Acton put it. Their very identity requires they view the conflict instead as a great moral struggle to abolish slavery, even though the antebellum North put forth no morally responsible proposal for eliminating it.

The official story that the war was a great moral struggle for the “soul of the nation” only strengthens the disposition to self-deception and self-righteousness. The war could not have been a battle for the soul of the nation because America in 1860 was not a centralized nation-state that could be said to have a soul. It was an inchoate federation of sovereign states only 70 years old; it had grown in only 50 years to more than four times its original size, which was expanding to the Pacific; and in which secession had been publically acknowledged as an option in every section of the Union.

Our nationalist historians have made it virtually impossible to perceive the moral truth that the best solution to all the problems confronting the federation of States in 1860 would have been a peaceful division into two federations, which is what the early abolitionists recommended. That, among other things, would have ended the fear that Southerners would use the Western territories as a dumping ground for emancipated Africans because by seceding, they would have no constitutional claim to those territories. Secession would also have hastened the extinction of slavery, which drew its strength from being integrated with the Union. Jefferson Davis himself said that secession would mean the end of slavery.

The official story that the war was about the South’s desire to protect and expand slavery and the North’s determination to abolish it is not merely an error in academic history. The evidence against it has not been ignored so much as it has been suppressed. It had to be suppressed because it contradicts the legitimating myth of the centralized nationalist regime that emerged after the war. Having been repeated so often, it has come to be believed because of repetition.

There is a lack of moral maturity in a regime that cannot confront its own moral failures, but constructs its national identity by projecting those failures onto a scapegoat. And this disordered view of moral reality accepted by both the people and their rulers cannot but have a deleterious effect on domestic and foreign policy. A great stride would be made in ending the ideological style of politics — so characteristic of Lincoln’s rhetoric — which distorts the moral lens through which public conflicts are perceived, if the whole truth were told about the North’s role in slavery, in constructing racial attitudes, and in its failure to even remotely confront the great moral challenge posed by slavery.

But that would require writing a quite different kind of history from the one taught to the public over the past 50 years. Indeed, it would require se­riously rethinking the standard narrative of post-bellum American national­ism. Such a history is long overdue. As I hope to have suggested in this essay, there is no lack of evidence to support writing such a history.

ENDNOTES1. Alan T. Nolan, Lee Considered, General Robert E. Lee and Civil War His­tory (Chapel Hill & London: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), pp. 25-26.2. Michael Fellman, The Making of Robert E. Lee (New York: Random House, 2000), p. 308.3. Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery, Gradual Emancipation and Race in New England, 1780-1860 (Ithaca: Cor­nell University Press, 1998), pp. xii-xiv, 7, 17.4. Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank, Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery (New York: Ballantine Books, 2005), pp. xviii, xxv,xxix.5. Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858, ed. Don E. Feh­renbacher (New York: The Library of America, 1989), p. 271.6. Ibid., pp. 636-37, italics added.7. Ibid., pp. 510-11.8. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy R. Basler (New Bruns­wick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953-55), vol. 3 pp. 311, 79, italics add­ed.9. Melish, p. 201.10. Quoted in Complicity, p. 183.11. Ibid.12. Eugene Burwanger, The Frontier Against Slavery (Urbana, Illinois: Uni­versity of Illinois Press, 1967).13. Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings, 1859-1865, p. 415.14. Quoted in Complicity, p.110.15. Quoted in Ann Norton, Alterna­tive Americas (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p.229.16. Quoted in Ann Norton, p. 158.17. James Banner, To the Hartford Convention: the Federalists and the Origin of Party Politics in Massachusetts 1789-1815.18. Otto Scott, The Secret Six: John Brown and the Abolitionist Movement (New York: NYT Books, 1979).19. Union and Liberty, The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun, ed. Ross M. Lence (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1992), pp. 463-76.20. Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings, 1859-1865, p. 403.21. Charles Ramsdell, The Natural Limits of Slavery Expansion, Mississippi Valley Historical Review 16 (1929), pp. 151-71.22. Quoted in Albert Taylor Bled­soe, Is Davis a Traitor, or Was Secession a Constitutional Right? (Charleston, S.C.: Fletcher and Fletcher, 1995), p.250. This is a reprint of the original 1866 edition.

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