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A Case For the South

June 5, 2013

Throughout my years in school, I was taught that the American Civil War was fought for one reason and one reason only, slavery. The Confederates were a bunch of backwards, racist, beasts who soaked in their lust for blood and brutality. Meanwhile, the Union was the real life version of the Super Friends. Instead of being led by Superman, they were led by top hat wearing Honest Abraham Lincoln. A man who loved his fellow man so much, that he was willing to go to war so that all men could live equally. When he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865, we were told it was because the Southerners were poor losers who took it out on a great American hero. We were told that John and his fellow conspirators were a bunch of inbred fools who deserved every punishment they got. As I got older, I started to question the “official” history of the Civil War. It seemed odd to me that an entire portion of the country would rebel over something like slaves. At that point, I started to research anything and everything that had to do with the Civil War and the months preceding it. As it turns out, everything I was taught in school was absolute bullshit. In fact, what I found not only made me sympathize with the South, it made me a Confederate in heart and soul. So what did I find that would cause me to take such a stance? Well, let’s find out:

Abraham Lincoln: There are maybe 3 or 4 presidents I actually truly hate, and “Honest” Abe Lincoln is one of them. I actually held a great amount of respect for Lincoln at one time. I remember thinking that it takes a MASSIVE amount of testicular fortitude to risk the nation just so people can be equal and free. As it turns out, Lincoln really was for the freedom of the blacks…just as long as they stayed far the fuck away from the White race. In 1858 Lincoln took part in a series of debates with Stephen A. Douglas. With each debate, Douglas did his best to paint Lincoln as an abolitionist at a time when slavery was commonplace. Lincoln was having none of that. At first he started using subtlety to deflect the words of his opponent. When that failed, he went full blown “master race”. The following is from a transcript of one of the 1858 debates: 
 
“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that 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 in as much 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 man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything. “ – Abraham Lincoln.

Lets sum that up. He is against slavery, yet he believes that the “black race” is socially and politically inferior to the white race. That the black race should not be allowed to vote, hold office, serve on a jury, or marry white people. In other words, they can be free, just far away from the whites. “But CJ come on now…we all know politicians lie he was probably just trolling the crowd for votes.” Yeah one could certainly take that view, until they learn what Lincolns original plan for the blacks was. You see, Lincoln truly believed that blacks should be free. However, he believed they should also not occupy land that the whites occupy. So he came up with this brilliant idea once he became president, to send a few hundred slaves to Panama. He had been told that Panama was a hospitable environment and that a colony could be started there. So he shipped off a boatload of blacks (both free and slave) to Panama as an experiment to see if they could build a colony there. He reasoned that if a colony could be started, than his race issue was over. He’d just kick the blacks out of the country and send them to their own colony.  It was an unmitigated disaster. Not being one to learn from his mistakes, Lincoln repeated the experiment only this time they were sent to Colombia with a similar result. By now, the Civil War had been raging for a year and a half and the Union was getting its ass handed to them. General Joe Johnston and later General Robert E. Lee turned out to be far more than the dim witted brutes they had been portrayed as in the North. What started as a general interest in the war for the people of the North, turned into apathy and later anger. Support for the war disappeared and Lincoln had to come up with something quickly. Enter the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln decried that slavery was an evil and that from that day forth ALL slaves in rebelling states were free. Yes, you read that right, Lincoln freed the slaves of a country he had no power over. Keep in mind that between 1861 and the end of 1862 he refused to let his Generals free any slaves, including their own. Suddenly, with the war turning south, he seized the chance to at least score a political victory and start bring popular opinion back to the side of the war. On an unrelated note, look into Lincoln’s treatment of Native Americans as well…

Slavery: Ask a random person on the street what the Civil War was about and this is the answer you get: Slavery.  While slavery certainly played its part, it was by no means the only reason. In 1861 a bill had been put up called the Morrill Tariff. It was a tax that hurt the South, yet protected the factories of the North. Robert Barnwell Rhett had this to say at the South Carolina Secession convention: “And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress, is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue— to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures”

You see, a lot of the major shipping harbors resided in the South (South Carolina, Florida, Texas) so it was cheaper for the South to import goods from England than it was to buy them from the Northern part of the US. The Morrill Tarriff basically put an end to that. It made it much more expensive for the South to import goods from England. Therefore, they were basically forced to buy goods from the North at higher prices.

In 2002, economist Robert McGuire had this to say about the tarriff and the role of economy in the Civil War. “Indeed, the constitutional action suggests that the tariff issue may in fact have been even more important in the North–South tensions that led to the Civil War than many economists and historians currently believe.”

Now a lot of people will say “Bullshit, a lot of the Southern states had seceded by this point.” This is true. A lot of what brought the secession along was the debate of this Morrill Tarriff. Keep in mind that in 1858 Congress had passed a tarriff that benefited the South. Once the anti-slavery movement in Congress realized it wasn’t getting the results it desired, they decided to hit the South economically. This is where the States rights came into play. Slaves, in both the South and the North, were seen as private property. According to the Constitution, the states had a right to do with their private property what they wished. Slavery was a big part of the Southern economy. As they lacked the factories to pump out goods at the rate the Union did, they resorted to slavery as a measure of cost cutting. When the Northern members in Congress decided that slavery could no longer be accepted (same time table as the Morrill Tarriff) the South lost its mind. Not only was there discussion of taxing the shit out of the South, but now they were trying to take away private property. So while Slavery was the lynchpin that really heated things up, it was by NO means the only reason for the Civil War. The majority of that lies on economy and states rights. Now, keep in mind, while the North was bashing the South for their “slave holding” ways, the North still had many slave owners. In fact, all the while these conversations were taking place from 1860-1861, slaves were still arriving at Boston Harbor and being sold to the South at a great profit.

Secession: We are told that Lincoln declared war on the South because they had seceded thus “rebelling” against the Union. Here’s the funny thing about that though: There was no specific law AGAINST secession. What the Confederate states did was NO different than what the Colonists did in 1775 when they declared Independence from England. Some argue that when the Constitution was signed it was a contract between states to form a solid Union. The fact is that in the Constitution, the states are independent entities. They reserve the right to leave that contract should that contract be broken. That’s EXACTLY what happened in the days and months leading up to the Civil War. When the Union army showed up at Manassas on July 21st, 1861, they essentially invaded a sovereign nation. Some will argue that the South started it with Fort Sumter. While one could definitely take that view, you have to remember that when the South seceded, they became their own entity. The south was no longer the south, it was the Confederate States of America. Fort Sumter was CSA territory and they gave warning that unless the Union withdrew its troops from CSA territory, they would take it as an act of war and fire upon the Fort. Lincoln and the North of course paid no attention to them so they followed through with their promise and took their fort back. In return, Lincoln declared war on the CSA and invaded them shortly after.

 

Conclusion: There are many arguments that can be made for both sides, but from a (at the time) constitutional standpoint, the South not only had every right to secede, but every right to defend their territory. Lincoln was a hypocritical tyrant who used every political advantage he could in order to defend the invasion of what was then a sovereign country. If you have ANY doubts about this viewpoint, I highly suggest picking up the book The South Was Right from Amazon.com. While I don’t condone slavery (my ancestors were victims of the Irish White Slave trade) I also cant sit by and let misinformation and ignorance distort history. For those of you who love to point out that the KKK uses the Rebel Flag as its main symbol, don’t forget that they also hide behind the American flag as well. A flag is an inanimate object. A flag has no opinions, no thoughts, no desires. It is the person who waves the Flag that brings intent into the picture and I will always sport the Stars and Bars because in the end, the Civil War was a war for independence. A war fought to stamp out the ugly face of tyranny on American soil once again. It was no less important than the one fought less than a hundred years earlier. While the result may have been different, the spirit of independence still soared.

-Snarky

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