2007August17, Friday

The Real Lincoln: “Let Us Die to Make Men” … Pay Taxes?

Posted in History, Politics at 16:43 by Trey Austin

I’ve had some discussion of late about the War for Southern Independence, AKA the War of Northern Aggression, and its true causes. As i have said, i completely sympathize with those who wished to abolish slavery in the United States for moral reasons. However, as i have also repeatedly stated, that’s not the issue that was of primary importance in the so-called “Civil War.” Of course, the issues were always political, not moral; they were economic, with the economics of taxes and labor in general (and with slavery as only one small aspect of those) being the main driving force.

In Thomas DiLorenzo’s book, Lincoln Unmasked, the veil is pulled back on Lincoln as the driving force behind the push for war back in the 1860s. The book shows that his push for war could never have been a principled opposition to the Southern people who just wouldn’t give up their slaves, but rather his threat to invade and attack states in the Union (and their citizens) was in order to retain control over revenues from Southern states who protested exorbitant import and export duties that Washington was trying to foist upon them. Here’s a review and summary of the book that gives some tid-bits.

Truth is, when you lay it all out, from the suspension of habeas corpus to the warmongering for deceitful motives, George Bush is, as many Neo-Cons have claimed, indeed following in Lincoln’s footsteps.



  1. John Callaghan said,

    One of the wonderful benefits of the internet is that we no loner need to rely on writers of history books to interpret history for us. There is an increasing amount of primary source material available – which makes (as far as I am concerned) much more interesting reading than the opinions of those who may have an axe to grind on certain subjects.

    Even a cursory reading of the what was said and written in the years 1860-1861 should be enough to convince almost anyone that the tariff issue was not the primary factor in the “push for war”.

    If you are interested in the real causes of the war, a good place to start would be this document:
    Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

    It reads in part:

    “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.”

    “On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.

    The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.”

    A month earlier, the Georgia legislature held a secession conference, at which the future Confederate Secretary of State, Robert Toombs, delivered a speech promoting secession. While he did mention tariffs, he reserved his most fiery rhetoric for the issue of slavery:

    “[S]how me the nation in the world that hates, despises, villifies, or plunders us like our abolition “brethren” in the North. There is none. I can go to England or France, or any other country in Europe with my slave, without molestation or violating any law. I can go anywhere except in my own country, whilom called “the glorious Union;” here alone am I stigmatized as a felon; here alone am I an outlaw; here alone am I under the ban of the empire; here alone I have neither security nor tranquillity; here alone are organized governments ready to protect the incendiary, the assassin who burns my dwelling or takes my life or those of my wife and children; here alone are hired emissaries paid by brethren to glide through the domestic circle and intrigue insurrection with all of its nameless horrors. My countrymen, “if you have nature in you, bear it not.” Withdraw yourselves from such a confederacy; it is your right to do so – your duty to do so. I know not why the abolitionists should object to it, unless they want to torture and plunder you. If they resist this great sovereign right, make another war of independence, for that then will be the question; fight its battles over again – reconquer liberty and independence. As for me, I will take any place in the great conflict for rights which you may assign. I will take none in the Federal Government during Mr. Lincoln’s administration.”

    He was answered the next day by Alexander Stephens (the South’s foremost intellectual and future Confederate Vice-President), who delivered a very erudite speech opposing secession:

    “The first question that presents itself is, shall the people of Georgia secede from the Union in consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States? My countrymen, I tell you frankly, candidly, and earnestly, that I do not think that they ought. In my judgment, the election of no man, constitutionally chosen to that high office, is sufficient cause to justify any State to separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining the Constitution of the country. To make a point of resistance to the Government, to withdraw from it because any man has been elected, would put us in the wrong. We are pledged to maintain the Constitution. Many of us have sworn to support it. Can we, therefore, for the mere election of any man to the Presidency, and that, too, in accordance with the prescribed forms of the Constitution, make a point of resistance to the Government, without becoming the breakers of that sacred instrument ourselves, by withdrawing ourselves from it? Would we not be in the wrong?”

    Stephens ably refuted the charge that the tariff should be a cause for secession:

    “The next evil that my friend complained of, was the Tariff. Well, let us look at that for a moment. About the time I commenced noticing public matters, this question was agitating the country almost as fearfully as the Slave question now is. In 1832, when I was in college, South Carolina was ready to nullify or secede from the Union on this account. And what have we seen? The tariff no longer distracts the public councils. Reason has triumphed. The present tariff was voted for by Massachusetts and South Carolina. The lion and the lamb lay down together– every man in the Senate and House from Massachusetts and South Carolina, I think, voted for it, as did my honorable friend himself.”

    Finally, the best examination of the matter of Chief Justice Taney and Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus is this speech by the late Chief Justice Rehnquist:

    Al the Laws but One

    In Christ,

  2. Anna Phillips said,

    Trey, have you read The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South (and Why It Will Rise Again)? Tim gave me a copy for my birthday–so far it’s a pretty good read.

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