With dumbed down education, and fraudulent historians, it is easy to sell the fake story of the American Civil War as being first and foremost about slavery. While slavery was the fermentation of the zeitgeist, it was not the cup of trembling itself. We will bring you a perspective you haven't heard before. but which is quite obvious if you know one of the leading causes of the first War of Independence.
If you think about to the Revolutionary War, you may recall the tea tax, the Stamp Act, and other impositions which the British placed upon the colonists. And if you think about the events, you will notice that taxes were the burning issues prompting the colonists to rebel against King George III.
It was much the same leading to Fort Sumter when southerners clamored for a more equitable distribution and benefit of taxes, namely in the form of tariffs, a topic which had been most nettlesome for most of the 19th century leading up to the secession of southern states from the union.
Various compromises and see-saw politics managed to keep the pot from boiling over, but the Nullification Crisis of 1828-33 set the stage for the eventual fruition of the Confederacy.
In short, the agricultural and slave powered South depended upon imports, whether northern or European, for its goods, whereas the industrial North sought to protect its fledgling industries from cheap imports. Ultimately no one could craft a compromise, and with Lincoln's anti-conciliatory stance to the South, particularly along the lines of tariffs, there was no pressure escape valve left to ameliorate the frictions between the two sections of the union.
Lincoln was a Whig-Republican who was the puppet of northern industrialists who were intent upon establishing high tariffs to protect their economic interests and empire. Few people know that Lincoln's rise out of the lawyerly slums owed to his work for railroad tycoons in downstate Illinois. This work, plus his political aspirations, finally brought him to the attention of the power brokers at the Chicago Republican convention of 1860 as a compromise candidate who would do their bidding.
Lincoln did not disappoint. Using the pretext of "preserving the union," Lincoln issued a series of blustery statements which gave southerners no doubt about his sentiments on taxes and where his loyalty lay. Without any congressional support, he immediately issued a flurry of unconstitutional orders declaring war on the South, raising initially a 75,000 man army which would grow to over 1 million, and shredding constitutional liberties as though the document was, as George Bush famously said, nothing but a goddamned piece of paper.
But wasn't Lincoln elected to free the slaves? Absolutely not. Many northern states had Black Codes which forbad blacks from residing in their states, owning property, and other activities which we take for granted today.
Lincoln made it very clear during his inaugural address that he would take no actions against the "peculiar institution" of the south, and that he had no constitutional basis for doing so. Even during the war, he fired General Fremont for issuing a statewide emancipation in Missouri - but first he rescinded the order.
But everyone says that the Civil War was about slavery - you are out of your mind. Slavery was the race card par excellence of the 19th C. The abolitionists were an extremist group with not a terribly broad following. However, they made a lot of noise, and were funded by foreigners, giving them a voice outsized to their ranks.
Northerners used the religion of abolition to rouse support for their cause of "preserving the union" while southerners used the religion of slavery to rouse support for their cause of secession. In fact northerners were quite willing to let the south go for a while - until it realized the tax revenues it would lose, and the crumbling prospect of Manifest Destiny.
Yes heated editorials were written both for and against slavery, the southerners usually falling back to states' rights as the basis to repel northern interference, a position with which Lincoln largely agreed. But as Charles Adams noted in his grand book, the more dispassionate Europeans generally reviewed the conflict between north and south as one over tax policy - not about slavery.
The curious exception was John Stuart Mill, but Adams notes his uninformed understanding of the situation in America, and Mill never came to terms with the prospect of freeing 4 million people who did not have the education or standing to make their own ways in the world if freed overnight. Lincoln's solution was to ship the slaves back to Africa. But there is nothing like singing a few choruses of the Battle Hymn of the Republic to rile up a lot emotional blather and calls for war - and the slavery issue fit the bill for a get-down camp meeting full of fulsome self-righteousness.
Adams demonstrated that the critical issue, as expressed in contemporary editorials and political action, all centered around dominating and controlling the south for its tax revenues to both fund the government and to protect northern industries.
The brutality Lincoln used in demolishing the south made him a war criminal of the worst sort - the Adolf Hitler of the 19th century. In fact Hitler borrowed Lincoln's phrase, the final solution, in addressing the concerns brought about by Jews in Germany.
There is no doubt that slavery was a hot topic leading up to and during the war, but it was ultimately a dead end as an issue. The Confederate Constitution outlawed it, and required the states to pass enabling legislation to support it. The South was well on its way to ending slavery although it may have taken some generations to accomplish it.
On the other hand, the Soviet Lincoln would not wait to collect his tax revenues, and so launched the most brutal war in human history by terrorizing combatants as well as civilians - something which his owners required.
Charles Adams, When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession, Rowman and Littlefield, [city], 2000, 257pp
Copyright 2020 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.