Unchaining Ourselves From The Lincoln Myth – Things Your Teacher Never Taught You Part 3
26. Jul, 2010 Comments (13)
By GJ Merits
“Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this, as of many other evils. The quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel.”…Charles Dickens on the real catalyst for the Civil War
“The war between the North and the South is a tariff war. The war is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for sovereignty.”…Karl Marx
“Abraham Lincoln had one consuming passion during that time of crisis, and this was to preserve the Union … Towards that end, he broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary power, he trampled individual liberties.”…Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during a national televised address on his justification to suspend his nation’s constitution and declare martial law.
“Lincoln, in order to maintain the unity of the United States … resorted to the use of force … so, I think Abraham Lincoln, president, is a model, is an example.”…1999 quote by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji justifying his country’s suppression of Taiwan to President Bill Clinton.
“The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence . . . by the Articles of Confederation in 1778 . . . and establishing the Constitution. . . . It follows from these views that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union.”…Abraham Lincoln During His First Inaugural Address in 1861.
“The individual states of the American Union . . . could not have possessed any state sovereignty of their own. For it was not these states that formed the Union, on the contrary it was the Union which formed a great part of such so-called states.”…Adolf Hitler writing in Mein Kampf. Quote is found on page 566 of the 1999 Mariner/Houghton Mifflin edition.
The above quotations are the first shots in a salvo that places to rest the naive notion that Abraham Lincoln fought the Civil War to free the slaves or to preserve the Union. The case that Lincoln was a virulent racist has already been made here and here, and will continue to be made. That the President whose likeness sits among three great men in our nations history, namely George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt should make everyone question the very process that encourages the inculcation of a mythology instead of historical accuracy. This and a memorial in DC is a testament not to Lincoln’s greatness but to a thorough and effective campaign of historical revisionism. Thankfully, this false rendering is exposed by many great historians and authors such as Thomas J. DiLorenzo and the African American icon Lerone Bennett, Jr., long-time editor of Ebony magazine, whose questioning of Honest Abe’s moniker as the “Great Emancipator” is based on twenty years of painstaking research and culminated in the book Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream.:
Lincoln is theology, not historiology. He is a faith, he is a church, he is a religion, and he has his own priests and acolytes, most of whom have a vested interest in [him] and who are passionately opposed to anybody telling the truth about him.
Lincoln’s abuse of the Constitution to usurp state power is well documented and the fact of state supremacy over federal powers is proven not only in this blog, but in many contemporary works and historical treatises and resolutions with lineages reaching back to the times of Founders such as Thomas Jefferson, and grudgingly admitted by Federalists as pointed out in Thomas E. Woods excellent work Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.
While more will be said in future posts concerning state sovereignty, one excellent treatment of the subject can be found in the article by Brian McCandliss: Were the States Sovereign Nations?. Suffice to say the subject in my mind is put to rest. As a previous acolyte to the Lincoln myth, the immense difficulty for me to accept objective evidence and see the Lincoln behind the mask – a tyrant and racist whose contribution to American history put to truth the lie of federal supremacy over states – troubles me to this very day. That this task met with such difficulty is proof positive of the strength of propaganda spoon fed to young minds in classrooms across the nation, often by teachers who themselves did not think to question for a moment the falsehoods or airbrushed version of history they unwittingly communicated to their students. While it is certainly agreed that slavery was a blight upon the history of this country, that the freeing of the slaves could be accomplished without necessitating a war that cost the lives of over 600,000 Americans is discussed by Donald W. Miller, Jr. in his piece concerning the War for Southern Independence.
While Civil War is the accepted labeling of the hell unleashed by Lincoln upon the nation, as the intent of the war from the Confederate perspective was not to decide which side was to dominate the other under a single government, but rather a war for independence by the Confederate states from the Union, the labeling of such action as a Civil War is improper and misleading. The war itself was a War for Southern Independences and I utilize this terminology unless any referenced material uses the preferred moniker of current texts.
Donald W. Miller, Jr. titles his article A Jeffersonian View of the Civil War. By “Jeffersonian view” the author is referring to an comprehension of how those who understand the constitutional supremacy of states over the federal powers would view the War for Southern Independence. State supremacy and its transformation over the intervening years from the Constitution’s ratification to modern times to more resemble the British style of sovereignty (centralized power in the Parliament) is described succinctly and engagingly in Kevin Gutzman’s The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to the Constitution (Politically Incorrect Guides).
Before continuing, I feel compelled to put a human face on the suffering caused by Lincoln, often described as the protector of liberty. It is widely known the President suspended the writ of habeas corpus, allowing him to imprison without trial those who disagreed with him. Many were held indefinitely, without knowledge of what charges, if any, were leveled upon them. Estimates of Lincoln’s political prisoners number as high as forty thousand, and many families were often unaware of the location of their loved ones. Such was the fate of one Captain Robert Tansill, U.S. Marine Corps, who served aboard the USS Congress. While on this ship, Captain Tansill read Lincoln’s inaugural address in 1861 and subsequently offered his resignation to the Secretary of the Navy Fideon Welles who refused it stating the Captain could not quit, instead firing the Captain and dismissing him on the spot. That evening Captain Tansill was arrested at Fort Lafayette. Repeated letters to the President asking for details of the charges went unanswered. It was then Captain Tansill’s wife asked for an interview with the President and received an audience. Her account of that meeting is informative and disturbing:
He spoke, still looking me full in the face, “I did receive that letter and it has got all the answer it will have.” Mr. President, I said, you are aware of the circumstances under which my husband was arrested – of his having just returned from sea after an absence of two years from his family and his being hurried of like a common felon to prison, without giving him any reason for it. Was it, I asked Sir, for any other reason than his having resigned? His face then turned perfectly livid. He jumped up from the table at which he as sitting and brought his clenched hand down hard upon it with an oath….He began to walk the room in violent excitement, stamping his feet, and averting his head from me….Mr. Lincoln, you understand, I hope that the only object of my call upon you was to ask if my husband’s letter had reached you, and I have received my answer! “You have most positively!” was his reply, with head turned from me. I took my little son by the hand, and closed the door, and thus shut away from my sight, I trust for evermore, the greatest despot and tyrant that ever ruled a nation.
Dresden James once stated, “The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves.” In order to ensure we do not willingly and in ignorance create the very web which is to entrap us, it is important we understand how we traversed the distance from liberty to serfdom. While the reasons are legion, many of which are covered on this blog, many at the Tenth Amendment Center and other organizations, and many by the books referenced above from Kevin Gutzman and Thomas Woods, the reason I wish to concentrate on for the remainder of this post is how the War for Southern Independence did much to usurp state power and displace it to the center, paving the way for a few despots in DC to force upon an unwilling populace the disaster that is ObamaCare. To be sure, other egregious legislation awaits us in the coming months, particularly during the lame duck session of Congress – rest assured – but laying the groundwork for nullification of unconstitutional laws relies on an understanding not only of the roles of states in the power structure of the Republic and the lack of utility of any other approach to solving the issues which face us, but an understanding of our founder’s intent as to what constitutes constitutional governance. This requires an understanding of how we have moved so far away from that vision, which leads us back once again to Lincoln. In the end, the truth of Lincoln leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Never again will I utter the words that, as a Republican, I am “from the party of Lincoln”. Such an utterance given the facts I am now only too aware of would put such a feeling of shame upon me that I should never recover.
Let us now visit the Jeffersonian view of the War for Southern Independence. From the article reference above by Donald W. Miller, Jr. (emphasis mine):
…In the standard account, the Civil War was an outcome of our Founding Fathers failure to address the institution of slavery in a republic that proclaimed in its Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” But was it really necessary to wage a four-year war to abolish slavery in the United States, one that ravaged half of the country and destroyed a generation of American men? Only the United States and Haiti freed their slaves by war. Every other country in the New World that had slaves, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, freed them in the 19th century peacefully.
The war did enable Lincoln to “save” the Union, but only in a geographic sense. The country ceased being a Union, as it was originally conceived, of separate and sovereign states. Instead, America became a “nation” with a powerful federal government. Although the war freed four million slaves into poverty, it did not bring about a new birth of freedom, as Lincoln and historians such as James McPherson and Henry Jaffa say. For the nation as a whole the war did just the opposite: It initiated a process of centralization of government that has substantially restricted liberty and freedom in America…
…The term Civil War is a misnomer. The South did not instigate a rebellion. Thirteen southern states in 1860-61 simply chose to secede from the Union and go their own way, like the thirteen colonies did when they seceded from Britain. A more accurate name for the war that took place between the northern and southern American states is the War for Southern Independence. Mainstream historiography presents the victors’ view, an account that focuses on the issue of slavery and downplays other considerations…
…Britain heralded the end of slavery, in the Western world at least, with its Bill of Abolition, passed in 1807. This Bill made the African slave trade (but not slaveholding) illegal. Later that year the United States adopted a similar bill, called the Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves, which prohibited bringing slaves into any port in the country, including into the southern slaveholding states. Congress strengthened this prohibition in 1819 when it decreed the slave trade to be a form of piracy, punishable by death. In 1833, Britain enacted an Emancipation Law, ending slavery throughout the British Empire, and Parliament allocated twenty million pounds to buy slaves’ freedom from their owners. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer rightly described this action as one of the greatest acts of collective compassion in the history of humankind. This happened peacefully and without any serious slave uprisings or attacks on their former owners, even in Jamaica where a population of 30,000 whites owned 250,000 slaves.
The Constitution of the Confederate States of America prohibited the importation of slaves (Article I, Section 9). With no fugitive slave laws in neighboring states that would return fugitive slaves to their owners, the value of slaves as property drops owing to increased costs incurred to guard against their escape. With slaves having a place to escape to in the North and with the supply of new slaves restricted by its Constitution, slavery in the Confederate states would have ended without war. A slave’s decreasing property value, alone, would have soon made the institution unsustainable, irrespective of more moral and humanitarian considerations.
Here I would urge the reader to read The Untold History of Nullification: Resisting Slavery, just one example among many of how states used nullification and state supremacy to nullify fugitive slave laws. The irony should not be lost – that state supremacy and the use of nullification would have ended slavery without a costly war and the centralization of power away from the states and towards the federal government. Lincoln’s solution was to ignore the proper role of states and disabuse them of their rightful powers at a cost of over 600,000 lives and the death of liberty as envisioned by our founders. We see the result of such tyrannical thinking to this very day.
The rallying call in the North at the beginning of the war was “preserve the Union,” not “free the slaves.” Although certainly a contentious political issue and detested by abolitionists, in 1861 slavery nevertheless was not a major public issue. Protestant Americans in the North were more concerned about the growing number of Catholic immigrants than they were about slavery. In his First Inaugural Address, given five weeks before the war began, Lincoln reassured slaveholders that he would continue to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.
The Fugitive Slave Act required citizens of all states to assist federal officials with the apprehension of suspected runaway slaves and included large fines for anyone who aided a slave in their escape. The act also suspended habeas corpus and the right to a trial by jury for suspected slaves, and made their testimony non-admissible in court.
After 17 months of war things were not going well for the North, especially in its closely watched Eastern Theater. In the five great battles fought there from July 1861 through September 17, 1862, the changing cast of Union generals failed to win a single victory. The Confederate army won three: First Bull Run (or First Manassas) on July 21,1861; Seven Days – six major battles fought from June 25-July 1, 1862 during the Union army’s Peninsular Campaign that, in sum, amounted to a strategic Confederate victory when McClellan withdrew his army from the peninsula; and Second Bull Run (or Second Manassas) on August 29-30, 1862. Two battles were indecisive: Seven Pines (or Fair Oaks) on May 31-June 1, 1862, and Antietam (or Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862. In the West, Grant took Fort Donelson on February 14, 1862 and captured 14,000 Confederate soldiers. But then he was caught by surprise in the battle of Shiloh (or Pittsburg Landing) on April 6-7, 1862 and lost 13,000 out of a total of 51,000 men that fought in this two-day battle. Sickened by the carnage, people in the North did not appreciate at the time that this battle was a strategic victory for the North. Then came Antietam on September 17, the bloodiest day in the entire war; the Union army lost more than 12,000 of its 60,000 troops engaged in the battle.
Did saving the Union justify the slaughter of such a large number of young men? The Confederates posed no military threat to the North. Perhaps it would be better to let the southern states go, along with their 4 million slaves. If it was going to win, the North needed a more compelling reason to continue the war than to preserve the Union. The North needed a cause for continuing the war, as Lincoln put the matter in his Second Inaugural Address, that was willed by God, where “the judgments of the Lord” determined the losses sustained and its outcome.
Five days after the Battle of Antietam, on September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation.
The Emancipation Proclamation was a “war measure,” as Lincoln put it. Foreign correspondents covering the war recognized it as a brilliant propaganda coup. Emancipation would take place only in rebel states not under Union control, their state sovereignty in the matter of slavery arguably forfeited as a result of their having seceded from the Union. The president could not abolish slavery; if not done at the state level, abolition would require a constitutional amendment. Slaveholders and their slaves in Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, Tennessee, and parts of Virginia and Louisiana occupied by Union troops were exempt from the edict. Slaves in the Confederacy would be “forever free” on January 1, 1863 – one hundred days after the Proclamation was issued – but only if a state remained in “rebellion” after that date. Rebel states that rejoined the Union and sent elected representatives to Congress before January 1, 1863 could keep their slaves. Such states would no longer be considered in rebellion and so their sovereignty regarding the peculiar institution would be restored. As the London Spectator put it, in its October 11, 1862 issue: “The principle [of the Proclamation] is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States.”
Regarding slaves in states loyal to the government or occupied by Union troops, Lincoln proposed three constitutional amendments in his December 1862 State of the Union message to Congress. The first was that slaves not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation be freed gradually over a 37-year period, to be completed by January 1, 1900. The second provided compensation to owners for the loss of their slave property. The third was that the government transport freed Blacks, at government expense, out of the country and relocate them in Latin America and Africa. Lincoln wrote that freed blacks need “new homes [to] be found for them, in congenial climes, and with people of their own blood and race.” For Lincoln, emancipation and deportation were inseparably connected. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells wrote in his diary that Lincoln “thought it essential to provide an asylum for a race which he had emancipated, but which could never be recognized or admitted to be our equals.” As historian Leone Bennett Jr. puts it in his book Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream (2000), “It was an article of faith to him [Lincoln] that emancipation and deportation went together like firecrackers and July Fourth, and that you couldn’t have one without the other.”…
…Black and White Americans sustained racial and political wounds from the war and the subsequent Reconstruction that proved deep and long lasting. Northern abolitionists wanted southern Black slaves to be freed, but certainly did not want them to move north and live alongside them. Indiana and Illinois, in particular, had laws that barred African-Americans from settling. The military occupation and “Reconstruction” the South was forced to endure after the war also slowed healing of the wounds. At a gathering of ex-confederate soldiers shortly before he died in 1870, Robert E. Lee said,
If I had foreseen the use those people [Yankees] designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand.
Why were business and political leaders in the North so intent on keeping the southern states in the Union? It was, to paraphrase Charles Dickens, solely a fiscal matter. The principal source of tax revenue for the federal government before the Civil War was a tariff on imports. There was no income tax, except for one declared unconstitutional after its enactment during the Civil War. Tariffs imposed by the federal government not only accounted for most of the federal budget, they also raised the price of imported goods to a level where the less-efficient manufacturers of the northeast could be competitive. The former Vice-President John C. Calhoun put it this way:
The North had adopted a system of revenue and disbursements in which an undue proportion of the burden of taxation has been imposed upon the South, and an undue proportion of its proceeds appropriated to the North… the South, as the great exporting portion of the Union, has in reality paid vastly more than her due proportion of the revenue.
In March 1861, the New York Evening Post editorialized on this point:
That either the revenue from duties must be collected in the ports of the rebel states, or the port must be closed to importations from abroad, is generally admitted. If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up; we shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe. There will be nothing to furnish means of subsistence to the army; nothing to keep our navy afloat; nothing to pay the salaries of public officers; the present order of things must come to a dead stop.
Given the serious financial difficulties the Union would face if the Southern states were a separate republic on its border engaging in duty-free trade with Britain, the Post urged the Union to hold on to its custom houses in the Southern ports and have them continue to collect duty. The Post goes on to say that incoming ships to the “rebel states” that try to evade the North’s custom houses should be considered as carrying contraband and be intercepted.
Money. The real reason for 600,000 deaths, for tyranny, for absconding with state’s rights and trampling on liberty. Keeping the Union together meant saving it from bankruptcy. To this end, Lincoln assured the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter. By God, he would have his war:
Lincoln coerced the South to fire the first shots when, against the initial advice of most of his cabinet, he dispatched ships carrying troops and munitions to resupply Fort Sumter, site of the customs house at Charleston. Charleston militia took the bait and bombarded the fort on April 12, 1861. After those first shots were fired the pro-Union press branded Southern secession an “armed rebellion” and called for Lincoln to suppress it.
The rest, as they say, is history. Except not the history you and I were taught.
When I turned eighteen I received my American citizenship. I lived in Oklahoma at the time and that day forever lives in memory. A man gave a speech just prior to the oath swearing ceremony. He chocked up during that speech, and almost was unable to finish. A legal immigrant moved to tears that finally he and his family lived in the most free country under God’s blue skies. As a Canadian, I spent my years eating up American history and still recall many a teacher’s reverent testament of “Honest Abe”.
It has taken over twenty-five years for me to break this spell. With the rise to power of Obama and the liberals in Congress I see first hand the scars of tyranny. I see the futility of the usual approaches to taking back our country – federal elections, appealing to federal courts, hoping that somebody will just listen to us. As every cloud has a silver lining, for me this was the realization over many months that our power structure is upside down. Many of the posts on this site are dedicated to this theme.
I am now aware of nullification and what it means. I know, beyond a doubt, that our only remedy against federal expansion is to return this country back to its original foundations, that it is for us to realize that nullification is the pathway back to constitutional governance as envisioned by our Founders. Those that resist this truism do not see the irony of their position. They say that nullification is a fringe movement. Is it fringe to recognize our shirking influence under the thumb of tyranny? If it is fringe, it is not in spirit that it is so, but only in numbers. If it is fringe, it is from lack of knowledge and historical context, not because the concept itself is widely known and rejected. What the detractors don’t realize is that nullification is the only tactic that historically worked! Never in history has government shrank due to elections – never. Never has a group of lawyers consistently freed us from the grip of federal power. While the Supreme Court sometimes rules in our favor, it does not do so consistently and often does so for the wrong reasons, even if the result is desirable. We cannot rely of federal powers to limit themselves. One may as well kiss their own lips or touch the tip of their right index finger with the tip of their right index finger. The logic itself is circuitous and relies on a faith in human nature that just is not there.
Those in power do not willingly give up that power. If such a man or woman exists, they are the exception to the rule that power corrupts. Statism is destroyed when states band together and throw off the shackles they themselves allowed in the first place. Statism only works then the people are complicit in its execution. When the population awakens to a new reality, the Statists cannot maintain their illusion, for it is our belief in the federal supremacy meme that is the fuel of tyranny. Take away the fuel and the car rushing towards the cliff of fiscal doom quickly runs out of its source of power. Those who decry the use of nullification say it is the tool of those who wish to bring back the institution of slavery, or that nullification is the same as secession. Nothing could be more – to put it bluntly – idiotic and further from the truth and such nonsense is dealt with conclusively in the work of Thomas Woods.
So go ahead and vote in November as it will slow down the march to doom if Republicans win back a majority in the House and Senate, but do not be fooled this action will reverse the growth of government. No party will ever accomplish this. It is we the people whose self-reliance and use of the powers granted to us under the Constitution who must prevail. It is up to us to execute the task that many claim is impossible. Do not listen to them. This is America, and our lasting testament to the world is that, for this great country, nothing is impossible.
Attempting to slow down the growth of government, to arrest tyranny, and to gain liberty by appealing to federal powers to restrict themselves is as fruitless as attempting to drink the ocean with a fork. You’ll be at it until the day you die.
I prefer to live in freedom.
Knowledge is the enemy of tyranny. Therefore, I urge the reader to look into the Nullify Now tour by the Tenth Amendment Center. Thomas Woods and others will be speaking about how to use nullification to take back our country from the despots in DC. Find an area near you. If you cannot make it, forward information about the event to your friends and family. It starts now. This is the hill we live or die on. Please note I am not affiliated with the Tenth Amendment Center. While some of my posts have appeared on the website for the Texas chapter, I receive no money or other form of compensation. I truly believe in what the TAC stands for. They are the future of this Republic and their knowledge will be priceless in the coming months and years. Nullification – it’s about redistribution of power – not wealth.
Postscript: This post, having already reached a much greater length than anticipated, will be continued at a later date. While what remains to be discussed will take a much smaller amount of space, I feel additional evidence that puts to rest the lie that President Lincoln fought his war to preserve the Union for the sake of preservation only can wait for another time. I do encourage everyone to read in its entirety A Jeffersonian View of the Civil War.