The Reparations Fad – This Issue is More Complex Than You Think, and It’s a Political Hustle!

The latest attempt at further fracturing race relations towards ensuring politicians are employed well into the future is the idea of reparations for blacks in the US. Just like the Republicans of the late 1860s and early 1870s, the Democrats of today want to use blacks in the US to enrich their future to provide a government service in the form of money to offset past wrongs. It isn’t that politicians want every black person in the US to get a check, oh no, it is that they would “manage” this enormous fund and determine who is worthy to receive other taxpayer’s money.

Walter E. Williams in a 2014 piece (yes, this subject has been cycling thorough the US for many decades) explains the complexities involved:

One of the most ignored facts about slavery’s tragic history — and it’s virtually a secret today — is that slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years. It did not become a moral issue until the 18th century. Plus, the moral crusade against slavery started in the West, most notably England.

By worldwide, Walter means that blacks AND whites were slaves at one time or another. Even Alphonse-Louis Vinh noted in this recent post that:

Yes, slavery is evil, but this was something that was universal. Slavery was the backbone of our ancestral civilisation, the Greco-Roman World. Slavery has been universal for at least 5,000 years. Slavery still exists in the Muslim world. The monstrous evil of sexual slavery, which is a major concern of mine, exists everywhere, and I want to help destroy it.

To be specific, a decade ago there was NO slavery in Libya, but today, thanks to the US/NATO overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, this horrible practice is again thriving in this region. Bombing the world for “democracy” should be the US Empire’s tagline!

So lets get back to Walter E. Williams list of complexities to consider.

First and foremost:

.. let me say that I agree with reparations advocates that slavery was a horrible, despicable violation of basic human rights. The gross discrimination that followed emancipation made a mockery of the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. I also agree that slave owners and slave traders should make reparations to those whom they enslaved. The problem, of course, is that slaves, slave owners and slave traders are all dead. Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living .. What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday?

Exactly. Great question. However, there is more!

Government has no resources of its very own. The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first — through intimidation, threats and coercion — confiscate that dollar from some other American .. A large percentage, if not most, of today’s Americans — be they of European, Asian, African or Latin ancestry — don’t even go back three or four generations as American citizens. Their ancestors arrived on our shores long after slavery. What standard of justice justifies their being taxed to compensate blacks for slavery? For example, in 1956, thousands of Hungarians fled the brutality of the USSR to settle in the U.S. What do Hungarians owe blacks for slavery?

Another great question. How on earth is government going to do this “fairly”? DNA testing? Even that has issues in trying to determine the descendants of both white slave-owners and black slaves. But wait, there is more!

During slavery, some free blacks purchased other blacks as a means to free family members.

But other blacks owned slaves for the same reason whites owned slaves — to work farms or plantations. Are descendants of these slaveholding blacks eligible for and deserving of reparations?

Exactly. How does one determine the motive of people that lived in the US states of MD, KY, MO, DE (yes, these were slave states too) as well as TX, LA, AK, MS, AL, TN, GA, SC, NC, and VA prior to December 1865 when chattel slavery was abolished?

Adding to the complicated nature of this issue is the way slaves were captured in Africa (by African blacks) and placed on US New England slave ships, financed by US New England investors to get the slaves to Washington DC (yes, slave auctions were a thing there), Richmond, VA and Charleston, SC.

When African slavery began, there was no way Europeans could have enslaved millions of Africans. They had no immunity from diseases that flourished in tropical Africa. Capturing Africans to sell into slavery was done by Arabs and black Africans. Would reparations advocates demand that citizens of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and several Muslim states tax themselves to make reparation payments to progeny of people whom their ancestors helped to enslave?

The final thing Walter corrects is the myth that the slave system made for

Reparations advocates make the foolish unchallenged argument that the United States became rich on the backs of free black labor. That’s nonsense that cannot be supported by fact. Slavery doesn’t have a very good record of producing wealth. Slavery was all over the South, and it was outlawed in most of the North.

Buying into the reparations argument about the riches of slavery, one would conclude that the antebellum South was rich and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth of the matter is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our nation were places where slavery flourished — Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia — while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was absent: Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.

Basically, the only reason the North could do what it did in 1861 when it commenced a war on Southern civilians was because it had prospered much more than the South from 1820s on to 1860. It was not always that way as from 1775 to the War of 1812 it was the South that was the most prosperous section of the young nation. So strong was the South that the North considered secession in 1798 and again in 1814 but never pulled the trigger.

Lastly, do we really want to open up this can of worms in the 21st century as to reparations for past slavery? The fact is that every nation in the world owes REPARATION to somebody ELSE.

Case in point is in this 2002 post about a case for reparations that was filed here in the US by Jack Kershaw of Menphis, TN:

[Jack] wants to file a class-action lawsuit against the US government for reparations. Not on behalf of the descendants of slaves but on behalf of Southerners of all races whose ancestors were the victims of the US government’s rampage of pillaging, plundering, burning, and raping of Southern civilians during the War for Southern Independence [so-called American Civil War]

While the Southerners of 1865-1877 and beyond were undoubtedly trashed by the vindictive Northern army and later Republican politicians, should we go back multiple generations across this globe and transact billions or trillions of dollars IF there is evidence to do so?

To be honest, the South took it on the chin for only wanting out of the marriage to this psycho partner called the Yankee/Northerner/Defender of the Union. Not only was this a legal move constitutionally (Lincoln was very careful to never acknowledge that secession took place), it was the right thing to do as it was well known by 1860 that the North got rich in part due to the tariff revenue generated in the South being REDISTRIBUTED to Northern “improvements” (steel industry, railroads, etc).

Some examples of wartime atrocities abound. To start with, the specific targeting of civilians was outright illegal when the North started the war against the “insurrection” (Lincoln’s word) in the South:

In 1860 international law — and the US government’s own military code — prohibited the intentional targeting of civilians in war, although it was recognized that civilian casualties are always inevitable. .. The kind of wanton looting and destruction of private property that was practiced by the Union army for the entire duration of the war was forbidden, and perpetrators were to be imprisoned or hanged. This was all described in great detail in the book, International Law, authored by San Francisco attorney Henry Halleck, who was appointed by Lincoln as general in chief of the Union armies in July 1862.

Early on in the war, frustrated Union officers took war to a new level and outside the bounds of law:

Unable to subdue their enemy combatants, many Union officers waged war on civilians instead, with Lincoln’s full knowledge and approval. Grimsley describes how Union Colonel John Beatty warned the residents of Paint Rock, Alabama, that “Every time the telegraph wire was cut we would burn a house; every time a train was fired upon we would hang a man; and we would continue to do this until every house was burned and every man hanged between Decatur and Bridgeport.” Beatty ended up burning the entire town of Paint Rock to the ground.

Note that this vengence was not aimed only at white civilians in the south (only 5% of them actually owned slaves since in a typical family of 5 at that time, the father generally owned the slaves), …

Slave states NOT in the Confederate States of America (CSA):

DELAWARE 112,216 1,798 18,966 110,418 587 3% 2%
KENTUCKY 1,155,684 225,483 166,321 930,201 38,645 23% 20%
MARYLAND 687,049 87,189 110,278 599,860 13,783 12% 13%
MISSOURI 1,182,012 114,931 192,073 1,067,081 24,320 13% 10%



… but the targeting included the slaves themselves. This actually makes more sense as post-war there was NOT a mass migration of blacks to the Northern states. Blacks may have initially thought that the white army from the North was there to free them, but the fact is, most Northerners did not want blacks competing for their jobs. The very potential for this mass migration was what prompted Lincoln, a “free-soil” Republican, to seriously consider sending blacks back to Africa or to the Caribbean.

In October of 1864 Sherman even ordered the murder of randomly chosen citizens in retaliation for Confederate Army attacks. He wrote to General Louis D. Watkins: “Cannot you send over about Fairmount and Adairsville, burn ten or twelve houses . . ., kill a few at random, and let them know that it will be repeated every time a train is fired upon . . .” (See John Bennett Walters, Merchant of Terror: General Sherman and Total War, p. 137).

The indiscriminate bombing of Southern cities, which was outlawed by international law at the time, killed hundreds, if not thousands of slaves. The slaves were targeted by Union Army plunderers as much as anyone. As Grimsley writes, “With the utter disregard for blacks that was the norm among Union troops, the soldiers ransacked the slave cabins, taking whatever they liked.” A typical practice was to put a hangman’s noose around a slave’s neck and threaten to hang him unless he revealed where the household’s jewelry and silverware were hidden. Some slaves were beaten to death by Union soldiers.

It is no doubt that black slaves knew that the North was not their true friends. The “Underground Railroad” went to Canada, not to any particular northern state. Only Wisconsin ever nullified the Fugitive Slave Act which mandated that escaped slaves were required by law to be returned to their owners in the slave states.

The fact that when both Indiana (1816) and Illinois (1818) abolished slavery upon statehood, they also ensure that black immigration was minimized by requiring blacks to produce legal documents proving they were free and posting bond of up to $1000 (in 1860 dollars – approximately $30,000 today!). Additional anti-immigration legislation was enacted (and supported by Lincoln) in Illinois in 1819, 1829 and 1853 and in Indiana in 1831 and 1852 as well as in the Michigan Territory in 1827. The bottom line was that Northern whites, and politicians themselves, feared black immigration!

In summary, reparations are best applied in real-time, within the generation of the offense. This is why even an author who suggests that Southerners are hard on General Sherman and Sheridan would state on the record:

Historian Lee Kennett, author of ‘Marching through Georgia: The Story of Soldiers and Civilians during Sherman’s Campaign’ page 286:

“Had the Confederates somehow won, had their victory put them in position to bring their chief opponents before some sort of tribunal, they would have found themselves justified (as victors generally do) in stringing up President Lincoln and the entire Union high command for violation of the laws of war, specifically for waging war against noncombatants.”

Now you know.


Roots of the Empire Obsession Go Back How Far in US History?

Andrew Jackson @ New Orleans

Many will say that at the conclusion of WWII that the US emerged unscathed and became the sole superpower. Sure the USSR tried to stay in the contest until it dissolved in 1989 after 40 years of Cold War, but the US was definitely the replacement for the British Empire by then.

Others will point to the Spanish-American war in 1898 as the turning point when the fake news that the Spanish blew up the USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba resulted in the US expanding all the way to the Philippines in the Pacific and in Teddy Roosevelt’s day, expanded its Navy to match its ambitions.

Still others will point to the fateful day when states rights, the last thing keeping the republic from becoming a centralized democratic (not a good thing) nation, was not only beaten back with bayonets, gunfire and cannon, but continued to steamroll the section of the country (the South) through over a decade of military rule and economic plundering that had rallied around the founder’s idea of a federated republic. The post war correspondence quoted below from this post shows what was gained, and what was lost:

Lord Acton, the British historian and philosopher, and General Robert E. Lee, corresponding in 1866, both saw States’ Rights as an essential component of free government.

Lord Acton:

“saw in States’ Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will.” He mourned over the defeat of the Confederate States and what it meant for liberty.

General Lee,responding, feared:

“Whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.”

So yes, after steamrolling a defiant South from 1865-1877 the “Union” focused on the American Indian and proceeded on the breaking of all Indian treaties, genociding the defiant and bringing the rest of the population under a dependency on government to pacify it for generations.

So the seeds for empire actually go back even further. In this post, a former history teacher at West Point points out that the War of 1812 actually was out of a desire for added territory. What complicated things politically, was that the party (Republican) that was principled against standing armies actually turned into war-hawks!

The Republicans clamored for war even though their party supposedly hated standing armies and militarism. To wage this war, Madison and the Republicans would have to restrict trade, build a military establishment and coerce obedience—the very actions most abhorred in Republican ideology.

Seems that there was a lingering effort from the American Revolution that desired Canada to be part of the American Republic:

There were other motives for this war [of 1812] besides the affirmation of neutral rights and the reclamation of national honor. Many Westerners (who tended to be avid Republicans) had long coveted Canada, then a British colony. In fact, the Continental Army had previously attempted, unsuccessfully, to conquer Canada during the Revolutionary War. And, strikingly, the first American constitution, the Articles of Confederation, claimed the province of Canada as a future state within the expanding American union. In 1812, “Free Canada!” became a rallying cry, and the U.S. would spend most the war in this fruitless endeavor. We were the invaders!

So yes, the desire for empire had been there from the start.

What was the most interesting part of this post is a statement here:

Canada was primarily (though sparsely) populated by two types of people: French Canadians and former American loyalists—refugees from the late Revolutionary War. Some, the “true” loyalists, fled north just after the end of the war for independence. The majority, however, the “late” loyalists, had more recently settled in Upper Canada between 1790 and 1812. Most came because land was cheaper and taxes lower north of the border.

Yes, post American Revolution, cheaper taxes existed in the British Empire in Canada than in the United States. I thought we fought the War for Independence over high taxes?

Another myth that was busted was the “David and Goliath” slant most history books take on the War of 1812:

In point of fact, the British were busy and spread thin. They had been at war with the powerful French on a global scale for some 19 years. The only British force within striking distance of the U.S. was in Canada, and this—in a stunning reversal of the popular myth—represented a stunning mismatch. There were barely 500,000 citizens in Canada, compared with about 8 million in the United States. The British had only a few thousand regular troops to spare for the defense of this massive Canadian landmass. The Americans might be unprepared, and might prove “bad” at war, but by no means was the initial deck stacked against the large and expansive American republic.

The myth of American defensiveness is also belied by a number of other inconvenient facts. The United States declared this war, a war that Britain had no interest in fighting. Furthermore, despite the exaggerated claims of war hawks and patriots of all stripes, this was not a Second War of Independence. There is no evidence that the British sought to reconquer and colonize the mammoth American republic. Any land seizures were planned to be used only as bargaining chips at an eventual peace settlement. Tied down in an existential war of its own, Britain had neither the capacity nor intent to resubjugate their former colonists.

The bottom line is to question everything .. and to be willing to learn, unlearn and relearn.


American Empire’s Military Industrial Complex: Corporate Welfare-Centric

After decades of propping up US military manufacturers (not dissimilar to how the US government propped up canal builder, railroads and steel industries in the 1800s), it is becoming obvious that any industry subsidized this way gets very ineffective and very inefficient while never being innovative. One only has to look at recent super-large military projects like the latest carriers, F-35 and littoral class ships to see that for all the money spent, what the US taxpayer (now and in the future as the debt interest for these expenditures hits) got is of little value.

In his blog post, Andrei Martyanov writes about the F-35:

.. to shoot down F-35 one has to have two different bands radar, good sensor-fusion algorithms and decent signal processing protocols and voila’. S-300 PMU2 Favorit can do this, certainly [the] S-400 [can] ..

This explains why Israel is nervous flying near Syria these days. With customers like India and Turkey now opting for Russian build defense systems, the basic “free-market” economics are finally overriding threats from the US Empire. At the end of the day, these countries want good defense of their nation. This is something that the US has failed to accomplish for itself as it is distracted with the military-industrial complex racket that is in effect a jobs program first and the actual defense of the US is a distant priority.

Andrei goes on to explain what gives Russian military industrial manufacturers the edge:

Unlike American military-industrial complex Russian military-industrial complex is not jobs program or corporate welfare system, it never was.  Allow me to quote myself:
For a nation with such a military history as Russia’s the issue of military technology is an issue of survival. As such, weapons in Russia are sacralized because behind them are generations of Russians who shed blood to make those weapons what they are. They have become a part of the culture to such a degree that commercial considerations take a very distant second place to a main purpose of these weapons—to actually defend the nation. This is absolutely not the case in the United States, with some exception for its Navy, with Americans having no knowledge or recollection of what real war is and what instruments for fighting and winning it are needed. Those things cannot be paid for in money, they are paid for in blood.
I guess this should help explain why Russia is so successful on the international market with her weapons.
At the end of the day, the US now realizes its failed MIC projects at the same time it has alienated both Russia and Chine. Not cool. Too bad Washington DC, Pentagon and Deep State could not grasp Ron Paul’s philosophy that what works around individuals works with nations as well .. good trade (sanction free) promotes peace and prosperity .. and that the “Golden Rule” ( Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ) ain’t just for Christians, or for individual relationships, but nations as well.
Moon of Alabama’s post goes on to extend this demise to the littoral class of ships that the US Navy went all in on:

.. the incompetence of U.S. military design are the Littoral Combat Ships, which are essentially unarmed fast boats. The “stealth” DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyers were supposed to support ground troops with their long range guns. Built at $4 billion a piece the ships are now losing their guns because the ammunition turned out to be too expensive to buy. Before that they lost much of their stealth capabilities because some necessary communication equipment was left out of the original design. The ships new task will be that of a missile launch platform, a job that any commercial ship, carrying containerized Russian missiles (vid), can likewise fulfill.

Epic fails. I could write more about the latest carrier fiasco, but I digress. This is only a symptom of a bigger issues as Ian Walsh in the same post points out:

There is a lot of ruin in a nation, but for almost 40 years now America’s elites have treated the US as something to loot, and assumed that the good times would keep rolling. They were uninterested in actually governing. They were happy to move much of America’s core manufacturing overseas, to the most likely nation to replace America as a hegemon, because the Chinese were smart enough to make American elites rich.

So all these short term gains are typical in a democracy. A monarchy is actually one notch better in keeping the long-term in mind.

Alastair Crook extends this demise to the West itself when he was quoted in Moon of Alabama’s post as concluding:

as the post-war élites in America and Europe become more and more desperate to maintain the illusion of being the vanguard of global civilisation, how will they cope with the re-appearance of a ‘civilization-state’ in its own right: i.e. China?

I guess it is time to read Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s “Democracy – The God That Failed“.  This book is pricey ($40), so an alternative is another Hoppe book I have read called “From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy – A Tale of Moral and Economic Folly and Decay” is a good read available for $4 (Kindle at Amazon) or a PDF from the Mises Library for FREE!

Placing hope in nations, in militaries and in government leaders is foolish. Time to reflect on family, faith and focusing on the local as the empire slowly dies. Maybe Ron Paul was right on a few things (quote from his book ‘Swords into Plowshares’):

“The people, who far outnumber the would-be dictators, can succeed in a worldwide revolution that fully deprives the dictators of their power. But, any revolt must not lead to just changing the name of the authoritarian system or the political parties in the system. Instead, the revolt must be based on rejecting the trust in government doing the things that only the people can and should do for themselves. This revolt will probably come in stages—in bits and pieces—and be different in the various countries of the world.”
Ron Paul, Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity


Parasites: Always Looking for More – How Fighting Vice then Pre-Crime Can be Lucrative

I know I can over-analyze and assume that someone is behind the bigger picture, like a mafia boss looking for more work to keep the “family” in the money.

I really think the latest drive by MSM/Government towards divisiveness is to not only take the focus on the corrupt government (politicians, MSM, Deep-State, elite, etc) but to also is a great marketing campaign to generate more business and more revenue.

It has worked with the CIA for decades, its black-budget ops funded by being the middleman to the black market drug trade (thanks to the government “war on drugs” AND the US’s continued presence in Afghanistan, home to 90% of the world’s opium) that they have in place where the price of drugs remains high (no pun intended), for now, until marijuana is legalized in the USA. What was a vice before the 1930s, then became a crime especially in the 80s/90s (with its parallel spike in violence that ALL prohibition generates), is bound to become a vice again in the 2020s.

This same forecast of legalized pot is seen by local, state and federal police leaders and politicians as a threat to their status quo and the prison-industrial complex. The only way forward is into the arena of pre-crime, since fighting vice (which all victimless crimes are) will no longer generate revenue like the drug war did.

Enter the new hate crime definitions stacking up and the interest of the police state to “research” this area and venture into keeping society “safe”. The latest is from Michigan where Remus at the Woodpile Report shares:

What is hate speech? Legally. According to the Supreme Court. Joe Briggs cites the controlling case, Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which states hate speech must meet three conditions: Intent, imminence and likelihood.

You have to intentionally be inciting people to commit crimes of violence. Those crimes have to be specific and imminent. “Let’s go down the street and hang this guy” would be specific and imminent. “I’d like to string that guy up” would not be. And there has to be a strong likelihood that once the threat is made, the crimes will actually be committed. If any of these three things is lacking, the speech is protected. It can be hateful as all get-out, but it’s still protected.

That was then .. this is now:

Michigan’s attorney general and Department of Civil Rights on Friday laid out plans to increase the documentation and prosecution of hate crimes and incidents while citing a reported uptick in extremist and hate groups in the state.

Uptick in “extremist” groups no doubt because there are new definitions (like veterans, etc) and the surge in MSM reporting on a fake story for two years that drove many people crazy with “Russia-fever”, but I digress.

[Attorney General Dana] Nessel’s new unit will fight against hate crimes and review any groups identified in the SPLC list, her spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said.

OK, wait a minute. The SPLC is in a world of hurt lately as it was finally revealed as to how corrupt an organization like this can get. That corrupt organization will be the reference point? What can go wrong? (Sarcasm alert)

Arbulu’s plans for a database would document hate and bias incidents that don’t rise to the level of a crime. The database would then be used to identify areas where awareness and education programs are most needed, he said.

So prosecuting actual crime is no longer the first order of business in Michigan because they have run out of the revenue that actual crime generates. So what would be the proper recourse for the state to let someone know that what they said to someone was hate, but not a crime? A 1AM SWAT team intervention?

Riding the wave of the latest snowflake triggering hate “speech” means an opportunity for the parasite .. errr I mean state to offer its “services” .. at a special rate I am sure ($$$).

I wish I could say that voting better might change this, but I would be lying. The swamp extends well beyond Washington DC, so it is time that people start waking up to that fact.

Short of this, how about everyone just mind their own business, and when someone offends you, just keep the police state out of the resolution equation.

‘Nuf said.


1860: Worlds Collide as the Northern States Elect a President for ALL the USA

This point in time (1860) was not when friction started between the three major regions of the “united States of America”. Please note that in many documents, the “u” in union was because the emphasis on this “new nation” launched in 1776 was on the States and the powers it reserved for themselves verses the power delegated to the general (now called federal) government. The Articles of Confederation spelled this out better in print and in practice. The Constitution, however, was construed in secret backrooms in Philadelphia in 1787 and became a document that Patrick Henry would prophetically claim “I smell a rat”.

The most telling aspect of the state bent of the original view of this “republic” experiment was the language used to describe it until 1860. An example is the phrase “the United States are a republic.” Yes, you read that right. It sounds wrong only because everyone has been taught that the United States is singular and not plural. In our eyes, it is a nation, it is “one” .. and as the socialist pledge teaches us, it is indivisible.

So what happened? Well if you can imagine a marriage of two regions, south (the strongest region in the 1770s) and the north (the weakest region at this time) set aside their differences to fight off an empire. Successful as they were, they knew that only because England was pulled into a world war on various fronts and the assistance of the French, they were very lucky. Exiting these war years with the Articles of Confederation holding them somewhat together (general government could not tax, raise armies or borrow money), there came an effort to “strengthen” these bonds out of fear. The new marriage vows were designed to allow a stronger bond, general government taxes (a whiskey tax of 25% that put the British Empire’s stamp tax that the colonies revolted against to shame) and other new powers that centralized control. Patrick Henry, George Mason and Richard Henry Lee all saw through the sham of this shift towards tyranny. Eventually Thomas Jefferson would see the defects of this modified republic experiment, but it was too late. A great quote by William M. Robinson, Jr. about this moment in time is:

“The successful working of the dual system (Madison’s ‘dual sovereignty’) depended on the concert and mutual respect of the State and federal governments. When this noble experiment in government was launched in 1789, the world watched with interest and wondered whether human nature would be equal to it.”

Human nature was not equal to it. Compromises was made and even though eventually ten amendments were added (but note these “bill of rights” were not central to this document), these modified “vows” hung heavier and heavier as the country grew and expanded.

Working from a piece from Abbeville Institute on the defining differences in constitutions it is shared about what changed between 1787 and 1860:

Between 1789 and 1861 the US Constitution became a cudgel splintering on the anvil of human nature. No Founder could foresee the social, political and economic upheavals of the next 70 years: the stunning acquisition of land called the Louisiana Purchase doubling the size of a once small Republic cuddled along the Atlantic seaboard; the explosive value of cotton in the 1800 teens; our Industrial Revolution in the 1820’s; a population growth from 3.9 million in 1790 to 31.5 million in 1860, mostly in the North. Neither Jefferson nor Hamilton believed a Republic could govern so large a landmass and diverse a population. By 1860 Washington was long rutted on the road of Empire where human nature roams by instinct to the acquisition of further wealth and power.

By 1860 there was a strong North who had emerged as a leader in political power that left the south and the west (both Midwest and Pacific West) in the shadows. The ability of the general government to tweak tariff revenue dis-proportionally among the regions and subsidize northern “internal improvements” and industry were particularly prominent since about the 1830s. Redistribution of tax monies is never an easy pill to swallow. By 1860, the South felt backed into a corner and when the election results were in, it understood that the North could elect a regional president with only 39% of the country’s votes. This was a marriage that they could no longer be a party too.

However, instead of arguing purely on emotional lines, they decided to use the legality of their exit, by stating that “slavery” was their reason in many of the secessionist documents. Secession/divorce was never ruled out as an option as the North had considered that when it was the weaker partner in 1798 and 1814. Even Lincoln knew he could not push on the slavery issue legally during his first inaugural address in March 1861:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that—

I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.

So here we are, seven states had legally seceded from the united States and the newly elected president, the first one elected specifically by a section of the nation alone, is saying that the Constitution limits his ability to end slavery.

Lincoln does not stop there however, from his same speech he says:

I will venture to add that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

Yes, Lincoln was willing to make slavery permanent in the states that desired this, IF these seven states would return.

When you read the first inaugural address you can’t say that slavery was the issue for the war that followed, because to Abraham Lincoln, slavery was not worth fighting over. A future post will discuss why a war had to be the only response the North considered when the southern seven states refused to re-join the union. It should be noted that the reasons for secession differ from the reasons for war.

As a side note, when comparing the US and CSA constitutions (again, from the Abbeville Institute article referenced earlier), the slavery sections are identical:

… the CSA [constitution] enunciates what was understood but not written in 1787, especially in three places: 1) the CSA extends the Fugitive Slave Clause to Territories; 2) in the governance of Territories the CSA allows slavery until the Territory becomes a State. The people of that State then choose whether to be a Slave or Free State; 3) the CSA explicitly forbids the Central government interfering with slavery in any State. This last was also the 1861 US Corwin Amendment that Lincoln supported. All three were part of the original, unwritten understanding of the US Founders.

In summary, the major differences were not about slavery, but about sovereignty, which is as follows:

1.        Eliminated ‘dual sovereignty’. No powers were granted to the Central government. Specific powers were delegated.

2.        Created a Defined and Unmistakable Federal government.

3.        Mandated a solitary 6 year term for the President; gave the President a line item veto; required a mere majority vote in Congress for fiscal spending initiated by the President, but a 2/3’s majority if initiated by Congress.

4.        Placed Constitutional amendment conventions entirely in the hands of the States. The Central government had no role but the mandate to issue a call for a convention when 3 of the 7 States had already proposed amendments.

That alone does not look like a slavery-centric divorce/exit plan. This is about letting states have primary powers and specifically giving the general government limited powers. This had been the rub all along!

Also, on a final note, Lincoln too used the marriage analogy in his first inaugural address, but claimed that the “nation” could not do this:

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse [communication], either amicable or hostile, must continue between them.

Lincoln has been proven wrong many times on this .. especially with the breakup of the USSR and the subsequent republics that were successfully birthed as a result.

In summary, 1860’s election changed the course of this federated republic, and the reactions to this new reality included the death of over 700,000 men and the ravaging of the southern region physically, emotionally and financially for the next hundred years. In the northern mind, one must pay an eternal price from desiring separation and divorce. Forced to be in this marriage, the south has never been the same, and this marriage has never been the same. Is it over yet?