"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil." -Robert E. Lee - December 27, 1856 - 5 years before the war began.
I have always had strong, special feelings for the South, and the wrongly titled "Civil War." "The War Between the States," "The War of Southern Independence," or even "The War Of Northern Aggression" are more correct, descriptive titles. In a civil war, two sides are fighting for control of one government. The South didn't want to take over the North's government, but seceded from it so as to govern itself. Going back to that fateful year of 1861, the new Republican Party's President, Abraham Lincoln, used unconstitutional "executive orders" to start the war and remove the Constitutional writ of habeas corpus from many Northerners, arresting 38,000 innocent citizens, newspaper editors, teachers, businessmen, etc. with no evidence of disloyalty or subversion to the Union. Many were kept in dreadful conditions for many months. On the night of September 12, 1861, Lincoln had federal troops arrest dozens of Maryland legislators and other prominent citizens, including the mayor of Baltimore, and a Maryland Congressman. When the chief justice of the United States, Roger Brook Taney ruled that he had no constitutional power to do so, Lincoln ordered his arrest too! Additionally, Lincoln closed over 300 Northern newspapers which had printed unfavorable comments about him, interrupted state legislatures, seized private property, censored telegraph lines, and blockaded the South, all without congressional approval. Lincoln's military governors sometimes ordered hangings, without trial, for minor offenses. Mere suspicion of disloyalty to the Union was enough to expose one to Lincoln's governmental reign of terror.
Virtually 100% of Democrats in both the North and South were against the War, and that explains why, as late as 1980, Democrats laid claim to a "Solid South." By 1863, the North was virtually broke, and had lost so many battles with the South, with heavy casualties, that they were running out of men and money, even though the paper money presses were running night and day. New York instituted a draft to bolster the number of Northern soldiers, with the provision that anyone drafted could pay $300 to get out of service. A draft at any time is slavery, but that didn't seem to bother the North. The April 1863 draft riots resulted in hundreds of deaths, hundreds of buildings burned to the ground, and are still regarded as possibly the worst civil upheaval in American history. Lincoln violated the Constitution in many ways, starting and fighting that unpopular war.
The War Between the States has become universally thought of as being fought over slavery, which is not true. Slavery wasn't even announced as a war aim till the war had been going on for two years! General Ulysses Grant had slaves, and many Northerners had slaves until the Emancipation Proclamation. Who did that "emancipate?" The South had already seceded, and no proclamation had any effect on them. Lincoln was determined to start a war to pressure the South into his version of a Federalist - John Adams - Alexander Hamilton envisioned, strong, overpowering central government, which would have, and actually has become, a virtual monarchy. The South was intent on keeping with the Constitutionally authorized republican form of strong, self-governing states, and a weak central government. They disagreed, and the South respectfully decided to become independent, and remain friends with their northern neighbors. They sent emissaries to Lincoln to attempt a peaceful resolution of their problems, but Lincoln refused to see them.
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it now exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." - Abraham Lincoln
"I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, and for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind: It would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on till the last man of this government falls in his tracks, and his children seize the musket and fight our battle, unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for independence, and that, or extermination we will have." -Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy - 1864
Lincoln has become a sort of divine luminary and poster boy to Republicans. Like Bill Clinton, Lincoln didn't receive a majority vote when he became President, and when he started that dreadful conflict, two thirds of the North, the entire South, and his cabinet were against it. An impeachment was even begun in an attempt to get rid of him. Abe Lincoln had a hideous ten-year marriage to Mary Todd, whose family were slaveholders, and even though he sired four children by Mary, they quarreled constantly, and Lincoln is said to have had a long-term "loving" relationship with a male, Joshua Speed. Lincoln was a disaster, was responsible for the loss of 620,000 lives, the virtual destruction of the South, and the killing of thousands of innocents by the likes of William Tecumseh Sherman, a vainglorious, brutal man, who can easily be compared to the worst of WW II Nazis or Japanese. The 15,000 unarmed women and children left in Atlanta, hardly deserved to have their entire city burned, as well as much of the rest of the South on Sherman's infamous "march to the sea." In a letter to his son, a year before he died, Sherman expressed his regret that his armies did not murder every last Indian in North America.
By the time Lincoln started the War, only 6% of Southerners even had slaves, which cost as much as $1500 in gold, and were far too expensive for most farmers. Slaves were originally imported by England, and later the North. Those the North didn't want to keep, were sold to the South, which was attempting to responsibly free them, when Lincoln had his way. The State of Virginia, on October 5, 1778, passed "An act for preventing further importation of slaves." In keeping with that philosophy, the Confederate Constitution of 1861, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 says, "The slave must be made fit for his freedom by education and discipline and thus be made unfit for slavery." Both of these were long before Lincoln's War. Lincoln's famous speech where he declared all men to be equal, doesn't exactly agree with a speech he gave on October 16, 1854, when he said, "There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of an indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races…Free them and make them politically and socially our equals? My own feelings would not admit to this." On September 18, 1858 he said, "I will say then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about, in any way, a 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, or of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. And I will say in addition to this, there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together in terms of social and political equality. And in so much as they cannot so live, while they remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and as I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
The New England States had begun attempts to leave the Union as early as 1800, when Thomas Jefferson was elected President. New England Federalists immediately began a secession movement, and continued their efforts for 50 years without anyone starting a war with them to "save the Union" or "abolish slavery." They had slaves too, and made huge profits importing and selling them to the South. Many Loyalist New Englanders wanted to get out of the Union, sign a separate treaty with England, and become a separate nation. The North taxed the South severely, which was another reason for the War. The North's taxes were the result of the South supplying 75% of America's exports, with their tobacco and cotton. The "Tariff of Abomination" forced the South to pay heavy tariffs when purchasing supplies and machinery from the North, such tariffs paying for the majority of federal government expenses. Fort Sumter was a tariff collection place for the North, and the South wasn't about to let the North re-supply it. Remember, it was similar exorbitant tariffs that caused America to secede from Britain 90 years earlier.
The Louisiana Purchase virtually doubled the area of the U.S. at three cents an acre, and most of the new states wanted to govern themselves, rather than be subservient to a federal giant. This was a threat to federal plans to dominate everyone, and another cause of the War. Most of the North thought the South was within its rights and correct in its pursuits. Even then, most feared what we have now become…a pitiful nation being ruled by our inferiors with an all powerful central government, consisting of tens of thousands of lame brained, mouth breathing bureaucrats, a Congress and President woefully out of touch with their constituencies, and becoming more powerful and unconstitutional with each passing day. When Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel, Hamilton's federalist, powerful central government ideas didn't die with him. If dishonest Abe had listened to the South, The War Between the States would have been avoided, 620,000 lives saved, the South not burned, bankrupted, disgraced, and pillaged, and America would be as our Founders planned when they wrote the Constitution. That Constitution includes a Bill of Rights, the Tenth Amendment of which gives the states the right to self-government. Washington, Madison, and Jefferson were right, and Hamilton and Lincoln were hideously in error.
Those not content to accept the South's side, point out that South Carolina fired the first shot on Fort Sumter, thus beginning the War. The fact is that the six "Cotton States" had already seceded, had already seized federal forts, lands and armaments, and no war had been started. South Carolina's taking Fort Sumter was a logical step in the process of recovering property rightfully belonging to it, and not allowing the North to re-supply it or collect more usurious taxes. It wouldn't have been prudent for a seceded state to have a northern fortress in the middle of its harbor. When they attempted to re-supply, after repeated warnings, they got fired upon. It is that simple. Lincoln planned it that way, and there is ample proof of it. The Constitution says that only Congress can declare war, but dishonest Abe did it on his own, with no Congressional or even civilian approval. Union soldiers were fighting against self-determination, and the Confederates for the right of their people to govern themselves. The Confederates fighting for independence from an overbearing, overtaxing central government were duplicating the fight the revolutionaries had with England a few decades previously.
"The day before Sumter was surrendered, two thirds of the newspapers in the North opposed coercion in any shape or form and sympathized with the South. These papers were the South's allies and champions. Three fifths of the entire American people sympathized with the South. Over 200,000 voters opposed coercion and believed the South had the right to secede," - Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Herald Tribune, April 1861. Greeley also said on February 5, 1861 that, "Nine out of ten people of the North were opposed to forcing South Carolina to remain in the Union. The great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration…is that governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed. (Therefore if the Southern states want to secede)…they have a clear right to do so." Why do Republicans continue to idolize dishonest Abe?
Ulysses Grant, who was 5'3"and a drunk, Robert E. Lee and most top military officers in both the South's and North's armies were graduates of West Point. There they had been taught that to deny a state the right of secession, "would be inconsistent with the principle on which all our political systems are founded, which is, that the people have in all cases, a right to determine how they will be governed." A quote from "A View of the Constitution," a West Point textbook. When it was politically provident for him to say so, Lincoln espoused secession, as he did when he spoke on July 4, 1848, saying, "Any people whatsoever have the right to abolish the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right." It must also be pointed out that Lincoln didn't oppose West Virginia's seceding from Virginia. The so-called "Civil War" was a disgusting affair, and no fault of the South.
It isn't as if the North was favorable to blacks, or wanted them, even before Lincoln's War. The Revised code of Indiana stated in 1862, that, "Negroes and mulattos are not allowed to come into the state." Illinois, that so called "Land of Lincoln," had almost identical restrictions in 1848, as did Oregon in 1857. Most Northern states in the 1860's did not permit immigration by blacks, or if they did, required them to post a $1,000 bond that would be confiscated if they behaved "improperly." Senator Lyman Trimball of Illinois, a close confidant of Lincoln's said that, "our people want nothing to do with the Negro." The Philadelphia Daily News of November 22, 1860 editorialized that, "the African is naturally the inferior race." Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in "Democracy in America" that, "The prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists."
The entire War was a disaster. It was unconstitutionally begun by Abraham Lincoln, resulted in the deaths of 620,000 Americans, endless polarization of two sections of America, and between two races. Why do the Republicans still celebrate "Lincoln Day?" I cannot understand this endless fascination with a man who was, in this writer's opinion, an evil man.