Being that today is Election Day I’m sure most people would expect me to write something about it; well don’t hold your breath. I think I’ve made my position abundantly clear and to write anything about it now would be useless, as by the time most will see it they will already have voted and the polls will be closed. So what good would any Hail Mary of Common Sense do at this point in the game? So I decided to run with something that was inspired by news I heard yesterday.
In case you didn’t catch the news the other day, Janet Reno passed away on Monday. For those of you unfamiliar with the name Janet Reno, she served as Attorney General during Bill Clinton’s tenure as president. In case you are unaware of what the Attorney General does here is the mission statement taken directly from the Department of Justice’s website; “…to supervise and direct the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals Service, which are all within the Department of Justice.”
It was Janet Reno that gave us Waco, Ruby Ridge and the Elian Gonzalez fiasco. Yet yesterday, for the most part, the media was paying tribute to Ms Reno and her service to her country. Why do we honor a woman who was ultimately responsible for the deaths of over 80 Branch Davidians; the FBI’s shooting of an unarmed Vicki Weaver who was holding her 10 month old child, and tore a crying Elian Gonzalez out of the arms of his caretakers at gunpoint?
What is it about us that we honor people who should be buried in a Potters Field in an unmarked grave? But it shouldn’t surprise me; after all we have not one, but two monuments with his image upon them, and a national holiday celebrating the birth of a man who was responsible for the deaths of over half a million Americans.
Who, pray tell, am I talking about? Why the 16th president of the United States; Abraham Lincoln. Our history books teach us that Lincoln was an honorable man who saved the Union and freed the slaves; old Honest Abe they say.
I have a question for you. Why does Lincoln’s image adorn Mount Rushmore alongside Thomas Jefferson’s likeness? I ask this because maybe it’s never crossed your mind that one man authored our Declaration of Independence, while the other trampled all over it.
I know it may be too much to ask of you, but can you try to follow along with my reasoning for a moment? If government is an institution created by an act of the people, as our Constitution proclaims, (We the People of the United States….do ordain and establish this Constitution…), then does it not make sense that it is within the power of the people to revoke the powers they granted government over them?
If our Constitution created our system of government, then our Declaration of Independence created America as 13 free and independent nations. This fact was attested to in the Treaty of Paris, (1783), which ended the Revolutionary War. Both the King and the representatives of the United States signed this treaty, which states, “His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States…”
It was by the will of the people of these 13 sovereign States that our government came into existence, and it was within their will to abolish it, or severe the ties which bound them to it. This was true whether it applied to the people as a whole, or a portion of them.
Abraham Lincoln even admitted this to be true himself in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives given on January 12 1848, “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, most sacred right- a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to excercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their own, of so much territory as the inhabit.”
So why would Lincoln do a 180 upon being elected president and deny that right to the Southern States; thereby trampling all over the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence; “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. … when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Lincoln decided for himself that the will of the government was superior to the will of the people, and in so doing initiated war against a sovereign nation; thereby leading to the death of over half a million people and the devastation of an entire region of the nation.
Yet we honor this man with monuments and a national holiday?
These acts alone ought to be enough to cause Lincoln’s name to be a blot in our history books; but unfortunately Lincoln was also guilty of other crimes that most Americans are completely unaware of.
Did you know, for instance, that Lincoln overstepped his powers numerous times during the Civil War? By what authority does the Constitution grant a president the power to call for an army of 75,000 to invade a state? You might quote the power to quell insurrections, but you probably do not even know what an insurrection is. An insurrection is a violent uprising against established authority. The South did not do that. The South peacefully issued Declarations of Secession; stating that the bonds which held them to the Union were abolished and they were resuming their status as free and independent States. There was no insurrection; no violence; not until Lincoln forced their hand by attempting to resupply Fort Sumter that is.
Lincoln’s raising of an army of 75,000 to invade the South was as unconstitutional as had he used that army to invade Canada or Mexico. The South effectively upon issuing their Declarations of Secession were no longer part of the Union; they were a sovereign nation in their own right; and Abraham Lincoln invaded them to force his will upon them. That, in and of itself, was an act of war by the government of the North against the government of the South.
Then there was Lincoln’s Revenue Act of 1861. Wars cost money to wage, and with the revenue from the tariffs, (one of the reasons the South withdrew from the Union), being gone, Lincoln had to do something to fund this army he was raising to force his will upon the South. So what did he do? Why, he again violated the Constitution by initiating an income tax.
The Revenue Act stated in part, that an income tax be “…levied, collected, and paid, upon the annual income of every person residing in the United States, whether such income is derived from any kind of property, or from any profession, trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere, or from any other source whatever…”
Lincoln’s Revenue Act violated the Constitution by instituting a direct tax upon the people that was not apportioned; as required in Article 1 of the Constitution. Their convoluted logic was that it was an indirect direct tax, and therefore did not require a Constitutional Amendment to authorize. It may be interesting to note that in 1895 the Supreme Court ruled that an un-apportioned income tax was unconstitutional. (Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company) Therefore if the SCOTUS ruled it was unconstitutional in 1859, it was unconstitutional in 1861 as well, adding another violation of the Constitution to Lincoln’s list of crimes.
Then there was the way in which Lincoln fought his war against the South, and those in the North who supported the cause of the Confederacy. During the Civil War the beginnings of what would become the Geneva Convention were being discussed in Switzerland. One of the topics discussed was to make a part of International Law the conduct of armies during war. The delegates to this convention felt that it should be a war crime, punishable by death or imprisonment, for armies to attack defenseless citizens, plunder and pillage, or take from civilian populations more than was necessary to feed an occupying army. This belief had as its origin Vattel’s Law of Nations, wherein he states, “The people, the peasants, the citizens, take no part in it, and generally have nothing to fear from the sword of the enemy…”
Yet the army raised by Lincoln was infamous in its treatment of those it conquered in the South. Homes were pillaged and entire segments of the South were burnt to the ground. With the approval of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant pursued a policy of total war; targeting not only combatants, but the economy of the South; hoping that by destroying their economy the South would lose the will to fight.
In 1864, Union General Philip Sheridan led his troops into the Shenandoah Valley and systematically burnt to the ground anything that could be of use to Confederate forces. Homes, barns, mills, crops and supplies were torched by Union soldiers; leaving a wasteland in their wake.
Then, during that same year, General William Tecumseh Sherman began a 300 mile march from Atlanta to Savannah; leaving nothing but scorched Earth in his wake. Just as his counterpart had done in the Shenandoah Valley, homes, farms, barns, mills, and anything of use to the Confederates was burnt to the ground. It is said that even today, 150 years later, the path of Sherman’s march can be seen from space; such was the level of destruction.
It should be of note that as early as the first Battle of Manassas that General George McClellan sent Lincoln a letter, imploring that the war be fought according to, “…the highest principles known to Christian civilization.” In just a few short months Lincoln removed McClellan from command to replace him with someone who was more in line with Lincoln’s views as to how the war should be fought.
Yet Lincoln’s crimes were not focused solely upon those in the South, he targeted those in the North as well.
Lincoln also suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the North and had people arrested simply because they opposed the war. He also ordered that hundreds of newspapers critical of the war be shut down and their editors arrested. Lincoln issued an arrest warrant for Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham simply because the Congressman spoke out against the president. Lincoln also issued an arrest warrant for Justice Robert Taney when he ruled that Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus was unconstitutional.
Yet we honor this man with monuments and we celebrate his birth as a national holiday? It is entirely feasible that had the South won the Civil War, and war crimes tribunals been held, that Abraham Lincoln and his commanders may have found themselves hung for their crimes; especially their treatment of noncombatants. Maybe John Wilkes Booth did us a favor.
Still, I don’t believe that a thing I’ve just said is going to change anyone’s minds regarding the reason the Civil War was fought, or their opinion of Abraham Lincoln. However, it may prove interesting to read what the London Times said about the Civil War in an article published in 1861, “[T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”
History, if anything, is a study of the truth. If one cannot examine all the facts with an open mind then their understanding of the events of history will be markedly biased. The Civil War was a crucial turning point for our nation; placing the will of the government above that of the people government represents.
People are taught that the war was fought to save the Union and free the slaves, but those things are lies and it is upon those lies that most people’s beliefs are formed regarding this period of American History. It is also why we honor a man like Abraham Lincoln, instead of despising him.
Something Robert E Lee once said may be fitting at this point, “Everyone should do all in his power to collect and disseminate the truth, in the hope that it may find a place in history and descend to posterity. History is not the relation of campaigns and battles and generals or other individuals, but that which shows the principles for which the South contended and which justified her struggle for those principles.”
The Civil War was fought to defend the principles written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776; not to save the Union or free the slaves. The South did not lose the Civil War; the American people did. When Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse the belief that when a government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right and duty of the people to alter or abolish it died as well.
That is Lincoln’s legacy, and that is what we celebrate or pay tribute to when we visit his monument or get the day off to celebrate his birthday.
And if we can honor a man such as this, is it any surprise at all that we can put a woman one step away from becoming our next president, who should be in prison for the crimes she has committed?
It makes me wonder, why do we pay tribute to and honor evil and denigrate those who are truly honorable? It certainly says a lot about the character of the people of this country that we do that; don’t you think?
But then Noah Webster warned us about this type behavior centuries ago, “… if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.”
And just like everything else our Founders said, we haven’t listened.
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.