Once upon a time, the people of the South seceded in order to affirm States Rights and a limited Federal Government, but they were invaded and left devastated on the direction of a Dictator and Tyrant,forcibly returned to an American Empire, and occupied to this day.
The following piece was written by Alan Bauman. It was actually two separate essay questions on a final exam he took for a course on the War for Southern Independence at the University of Memphis. Bauman writes:
I was so fed up with the yankee shills in the classroom, that I decided I would just write exactly what I was thinking about Lincoln and throw political correctness out the window. Surprisingly enough, I received an A for the exam and an A for the class. It is a rare day to find a professor who is kind to the South in history and politics courses, but [the] U[niversity] of M[emphis] has a couple of decent ones hiding among the vast throngs of liberals.
Here are the essays, presented together:
Before the War Between the States began, Abraham Lincoln, stated that he had neither the intention nor the authority to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States. During the war, however, this position seemingly changed when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This played a role in the outcome of the war, but the reasons why Lincoln did this are up for debate.
At Lincoln’s first inauguration, he laid the groundwork for the coming war with the Southern States. His primary goal, rather than the popular notion of freeing Southern slaves, was to collect federal tariffs by whatever means necessary in the South. While no longer having constitutional authority to do so, as the initial seven Southern states to secede were no longer parties to the compact, Lincoln is at least truthful about his reasons for invading the South. With regard to the issue of slavery, he very clearly states that he has no constitutional authority to interfere with it. Furthermore, following a history of statements in the past that he did not believe the negro to be equal to the white man, he asserted no personal intentions, constitutional or not, toward ending slavery. Far from being an abolitionist, Lincoln was actually more in line with the mercantilist views of the defunct Whig Party, whose goals largely consisted of advocating strong central government and internal improvements which we today call pork barrel projects.
As the war progressed into 1863, federal military power was proving to be no match for the agrarian Confederacy, in spite of the South’s lack of industrial and manpower resources. Lincoln’s opinions about slavery appear at face value to change towards the abolitionist stance, but they actually still adhere to his previous beliefs on saving the Union above all other goals. Lincoln realized that proclaiming slavery to be at an end and freeing slaves would benefit the Union military cause. His Emancipation Proclamation proclaims to free slaves all territories not held by federal troops, even going so far as to exempt cities, counties, and parishes in the South under federal occupation. While appearing to free quite a number of people, the proclamation did not free anyone from slavery, as they only “freed” slaves in Confederate territory. Whether one agrees that the Confederate States were sovereign or not, Lincoln had no actual power under the Constitution or even with military forces to free anyone in the areas he claimed to emancipate. With this being said, this provides an understanding of Lincoln’s actual goals with the Emancipation Proclamation.
Far from being a moral overtone for the war, Lincoln’s emancipation was simply a calculated political tool. Lincoln had been worried that foreign recognition of the Confederate States would remove any Northern justification for the war. In issuing a proclamation that slavery was ending, at least in some areas, he could appeal to foreign powers such as France and Great Britain, where slavery had already been abolished. Several countries in Europe and elsewhere were very close to supporting the Confederate States. A few countries, such as Great Britain, had granted the South belligerent rights, allowing them to sail the oceans without being declared pirates or renegades. Lincoln had already angered the British with the Trent Affair, very nearly bringing them to war on the side of the South against the United States, so he wanted to use every option available to discourage them from aiding the South militarily. In associating the South, and only those areas which the Southern government controlled with the institution of slavery, Lincoln was able to hang a bloody rag around the South’s neck. He was able to do all of this while also not freeing any slaves within the Union or areas that federal troops occupied, so as to keep the loyalty of slave owners in those areas.
The question of whether Lincoln could have and should have gone further with the Emancipation Proclamation is actually a moot point. Since Lincoln’s motives were political and not moral, Lincoln never even actually started down the road of abolishing slavery. He could not go further with something he never campaigned for in the first place. If Lincoln were truly serious about freeing slaves, his Emancipation Proclamation should have freed everyone within the United States and in federally occupied territory along with having congressional approval to do so. In fact, far from going further with anything in the war, including the proclamation, Lincoln never should have launched a war in the first place. Even if the entire North had held the opinion that the South left unconstitutionally, Lincoln had many chances to avoid war with the South and perhaps peacefully negotiate a return of the Southern States. The South repeatedly sent peace envoys to Washington, DC in order to bring about solutions to the differences between North and South. Lincoln refused all peace envoys before the war, not wanting to mistakenly give any recognition to the Confederacy by consenting to negotiations.
Lincoln was being honest when he first stated he didn’t care about slavery. He only cared about preventing the South from leaving the Union in order to continue funding internal projects in the North with Southern tariff money. Few people see his duplicity in issuing an Emancipation Proclamation that freed no one. His war left devastation and economic ruin across the South that lasted a century and left Southern blacks in poverty beside their former masters. Had Lincoln lived, they would have been shipped to foreign lands away from the country where they were home and whose language and religion they had adopted. Lincoln was no emancipator.
Abraham Lincoln as President
Few presidents have gone down in history as having a great an impact on American society as Abraham Lincoln. He was the centerpiece of the bloodiest war in American history and the catalyst for the greatest fundamental shift in American politics since the revolution. By many, he is regarded as the greatest president the United States has had. But a closer look shows a very different man.
To understand Abraham Lincoln, one must first know that he was a lawyer. He knew how to use words to play two sides at once and produce his desired outcome. Secondly, one cannot accept his role in the newly formed Republican Party in the context of the party as it exists today. Nor can we view his political opponents with today’s party lines. Today’s Republican and Democratic Parties are nothing like their mid-19th century counterparts. Lincoln was the furthest thing from a conservative. Rather he was a revolutionary and a radical. When he took office, he claimed that in spite of the secession of the first seven Southern states, he would continue to collect federal tariffs in the South. After he committed an act of war by sending ships into Southern waters to resupply Fort Sumter, the South retaliated and the war began. He knew that the South firing on federal vessels would far overshadow his own unconstitutional actions. After the war began, he requested troops from the states still within the Union. Many governors such as John Letcher of Virginia and Claiborne Jackson of Missouri responded to Lincoln’s request by very sternly denouncing his illegal, revolutionary, and bellicose beliefs and stating clearly that they would not honor it. In the minds of many Americans, even in the North at the outbreak of the war, Lincoln’s raising of troops to march across his own country and invade the homes of neighbors was inconceivable. After personally initiating a state of war without congressional approval, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus illegally and had thousands of dissidents in the North arrested and jailed without trials during the war. Newspapers that disagreed with his actions were shut down. Even congressmen who disagreed with Lincoln’s wartime policies were not safe. Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio was arrested and exiled from the United States for his vocal opinions. When Lincoln needed more votes in the Congress for his policies, he unconstitutionally created the State of West Virginia out of Virginia without the state’s approval. His generals were handpicked to usher in an age of total war against the civilian populace of the South. He ousted popularly elected governments across the South in states such as Tennessee and installed military governors supported by federal troops, violating the Constitutional guarantee of republican governments across the states. With the list of unconstitutional and revolutionary actions taken by Abraham Lincoln, there is no other term to define the man other than radical. He did anything and everything that was expedient to his own political goals.
With secession from the Union, the Southern states saw themselves as preserving the government as established by the founding fathers while the North had been seen as growing tyrannical and overstepping its constitutional authority in the few decades leading up to the war. Lincoln and his Republican Party were in fact inciting a revolution to change the United States from a confederacy of sovereign republics into a single, vast democratic republic similar to what had led the French to ruin so many times. We can see the results of this transformation today with the authoritarian approach the federal government takes with the American people and the states. The founding fathers created the federal government as the agent and servant of the states, but it now stands as the master of the states. This is Lincoln’s revolutionary legacy in the landscape of American government. His views were that of the Federalists in the early days of America during and immediately after the Revolution. Federalists such as Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong central government that would set up protectionist schemes and tariffs along with guiding the central planning of the whole country. This was the prevailing model of government in Europe of that era. Anti-federalists, primarily from the South, believed in decentralized and limited government, low taxes, and a hands off approach to the economy. Lincoln was very much a part of the school of thought that the public treasury should be used to guide and shape the infrastructure and economy of the country. In order to do this, a strong central government ruling over weak provinces or states with no actual sovereignty, was necessary. Lincoln’s view on the Union was one of absolute authority at the top, with complete disregard for the decentralized tradition of American government and its founding documents.
Lincoln is often referred to as the “Great Emancipator.” The fact of the matter is, slavery was not officially ended in the United States until the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment after Lincoln’s death. In his first inaugural address in 1861, Lincoln declared that he had neither the personal intention, nor the constitutional authority to interfere with the institution of slavery. In spite of the initial thought that his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 freed slaves across America, the document is actually quite duplicitous. Lincoln goes so far as to proclaim that slavery every state within the Confederacy was ended while making very precise exceptions for federally occupied areas and states still within the Union. Thus no one was freed, accomplishing absolutely nothing in the way of abolition of slavery. Rather, the object of the Emancipation Proclamation was political and military in nature. Negroes were expected to run away from their Southern owners, weakening the economic capabilities of the South. Furthermore runaway slaves could then be pressed into service in the Union as laborers and as segregated negro troops. Politically, Lincoln wanted to attach the stigma of slavery on the Confederacy to prevent foreign governments from recognizing the new nation. His duplicity paid off and the South received no direct aid from any foreign government, in spite of not having had to free anyone. In reality, Lincoln’s views on slavery as being a political tool rather than a moral object followed from his own recorded personal prejudices. His opinions with regard to slaves and free negroes in his era were that they were unequal with the white race and could never be trusted to live side by side, intermarry with whites, or hold political office. In fact, had Lincoln not been assassinated, he had planned to recolonize Africa with newly freed American slaves in order to keep them from competing and integrating into American society.
Had Lincoln simply let the South go, the fledgling Confederacy of seven states may never have grown to the eleven officially accepted states or the thirteen disputed states that it became. It is even possible that had the South been left alone, they eventually may have peacefully returned to the Union at a later time when passions that had led to secession subsided. As it stands, Lincoln is responsible for the deaths of over six hundred thousand American lives in an unnecessary war of conquest. In waging a war against brothers seeking independence and self-rule, he made a mockery of the Declaration of Independence by acting exactly as the British Empire had during the American Revolution. Lincoln turned the American political system upside down, placing the federal government over the sovereign states rather than honoring the role of the federal government as agent and arbitrator between the states. Lincoln’s legacy is one that has led to the nearly irreparable condition in which America now finds itself, with endless foreign wars and heading towards the cliff of complete bankruptcy. Abraham Lincoln was a duplicitous political criminal and a tyrant in every sense of the word.