“There were two Lincolns—the myth and the man. The man is dead, the myth lives. The war he made was no myth. The War to Prevent Southern Independence is a cancer in the very living marrow of America.” ~ Charles T. Pace, Southern Independence. Why War?
As previously stated, Slavery was not the reason Lincoln unconstitutionally ordered 75,000 troops to invade the states “in rebellion.” As Lincoln said throughout the beginning stages of the war, his purpose was to maintain the Union.
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union …” Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862.
Here, over a year into it, Lincoln states unequivocally his “paramount object” in pursuing the war was still to “save the Union.” He states if he could save the Union without freeing any slave, he would do it. Just a month later, Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation that only freed slaves outside of his jurisdiction and control. He also stated the Emancipation Proclamation was a political move. To assert over 150 years later that Lincoln instigated the war to free the slaves is a sure sign of mental illness, a statement of complete and total illusion, contrary to the words of Lincoln himself and totally devoid of factual historical evidence.
A “union” by definition can either be free or compulsory. In 1787-1788, eleven states ratified the Constitution and freely joined the union of states. North Carolina and Rhode Island would ratify after the government began to operate. There is considerable evidence both were coerced into joining the union, but that is a story for another time.
Three states who joined this union stated specifically in their ratification documents their right to dissolve the bands of union should the central government pervert its power to the “injury or oppression” of that state. Those three states were Rhode Island, New York and Virginia. Here are excerpts from these three states’ ratification documents to that effect.
“That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness; that every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the Government thereof, remains to the People of the several States, or to their respective State Governments to whom they may have granted the same…”
“In That there are certain natural rights, of which men when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity, among which are the enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing and protecting Property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
2d That all power is naturally vested in, and consequently derived from the People; that magistrates therefore are their trustees and agents, and at all times amenable to them.
3d That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people, whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness…”
“Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will:”
An entire book could be written on these simple clauses in the ratifying documents of three states and how the central government has perverted its powers for over 150 years and continues to do so today. But, my purpose with this effort is to show that slavery was not the primary cause for the War to Prevent Southern Independence but, in fact, the cause was seven states exercising their rights as mentioned in the ratification documents above, which amounted to the withdrawal of the consent of those states to be ruled by a government which they believed was being “perverted to their injury or oppression.”
There is always the question with the mention of these three states and their ratification of the Constitution, whether the other states have the same right of secession if they had not specifically mentioned that right in their ratification documents. First, we must acknowledge those three states were admitted with the full knowledge of their claims to secession documented within their ratification. Secondly, we must look to the Constitution itself, specifically Article 4 Section 2:
“The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.”
Since all states are constitutionally entitled to the privileges of any of the other states, it is obvious any state has the right of secession. Nullification or secession is the very essence of freedom. If a person or a state is not allowed to secede from that to which they once acceded, especially when they see their interests being perverted to their injury or oppression, there is no freedom of association and those held to service of a government they do not want are political and economic slaves.
Patrick Henry, a man of strong faith, a vast knowledge of history and eloquent speech, was also a man of vision. He saw from the beginning the people of the North would use the new government to their advantage against the people of the South and said so at the very ratification convention which produced the right of secession for the people of Virginia. Here are his words on that subject.
“Those who have no similar interests with the people of the South are to legislate for us. Our dearest rights are to be put in the hands of those whose advantage it will be to infringe them. They will rule by patronage and sword. The states are committing suicide.”
Perhaps it is time to return to the theme with which I started this anthology. From the very onset of the convention in Philadelphia of 1787, as witnessed by the above words of Patrick Henry, the people of the South feared control of the central government would fall to the population density of the North. That was the very reason they fought so hard to have Blacks counted toward representation in the House of Representatives during the convention. The Articles of Confederation had provided them with what they saw as balance with the other states, for the Articles provided for one state—one vote and the ability of an individual state to nullify any proposal the people of that state believed to be contrary to their interest. The newly proposed constitution removed all those guarantees.
History reveals their fears were justified. Using their majority in Congress, the northern coalition government raised what became a “protectionist tariff” to 20% in 1816, to 37% in 1824 and to 50% in 1828. This tariff was continually raised by interests in the North to protect the price of their goods from imports from Europe. Since the South depended on these imports of domestic goods which were not produced in any extent in their primarily agrarian society, the tariffs forced the Southern states to buy from northern factories, goods at artificially inflated northern prices. All that was required to insure this was to continually raise the price of goods from Europe by raising the protectionist tariff. The South began to realize it was their tax dollars which were supporting the government and the infrastructure of the North with very little of those tax dollars coming back to the South.
With the advent of the Morrill Tariff in 1860 which raised the tariff rate to 60%, the people of the South began to realize the reason their ancestors had revolted against England behind the phrase “no taxation without representation.”
The central theme throughout the Secession conventions in late 1860 and early 1861 were the words contained in the Declaration of Independence.
“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The people of the deep South believed they were no different than the colonists who had seceded from King George III. They also believed they no longer had representation in the central government, especially with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the office of President. There is a valid reason for their beliefs.
Lincoln’s name did not even appear on the ballots in ten of the Southern states; Lincoln received not one electoral vote in fifteen of the thirty-three states; all 18 states that elected Lincoln were above the Mason-Dixon line; of the total votes cast in the 1860 election (4,682,069) Lincoln received only 39.9% (1,866,452) which means his opponents garnered almost a million more votes than Lincoln. (2,815,617).
Lincoln went to war with the South, not over slavery, but because seven Southern states had seceded from his precious Union. Lincoln stated in his First Inaugural Address that he would not interfere with slavery in the states where it existed, but he did state he would invade the South to collect the tariff. Like all other wars, if one removes the moral rhetoric for committing to “the last resort” of death and destruction, one will always find a trail of money. The South was paying over 80% of the tariffs which supported the central government. This amounted to over 60% of the total revenues for the entire country.
Lincoln initiated war against the South to protect the flow of money to his Northern business connections and supporters. Slavery did not matter until Lincoln needed a moral issue to justify killing hundreds of thousands for money and power.
to be continued
In Rightful Liberty