(A Follow Up To My Independence Day Rant)
Imagine how you would feel if someone were to slander or libel you; that is assuming you know what slander and libel are. Slander is the crime of making a false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. Libel is the same thing, only in this instance the damaging statement is in written form. While neither are crimes per se; that is a person cannot go to jail for them, they can be sued and damages awarded to the victim if the jury finds the person accused of committing them guilty.
Now imagine that you are very well known and someone does that to you; how fast do you think word would spread; how long before everyone believed you to be guilty of something you had not done? Imagine that you went to your grave without ever being able to repair the damage done your reputation. Or worse, imagine that years after your death someone accuses you of something you hadn’t done and the general public accepts it as the truth.
Imagine that years later someone digs around and uncovers the truth; that you were innocent of all the things said about you. Imagine that when this person tries to tell others the truth the lie have become so ingrained that people reject the truth, and those trying to set the record straight come under.
If you can picture all that then maybe you can begin to get an idea of how I feel when I try to tell people the truth about the Civil War, and how my efforts fall upon ears so prejudiced by the lies they’ve been taught that people refuse to even consider what I have to say.
Just look at all that has been going on of late as it pertains to the removal of statues and monuments celebrating and honoring the Confederacy and those who served in it. All this is based upon the hatred people have towards the Confederacy and what they believe it stands for. This hatred has poisoned the souls of some to such an extent that there is simply no way the truth can penetrate through it.
Yet regardless of the fact that those seeking to spread the truth regarding the Civil War are ineffective in penetrating through the years of indoctrination people have undergone there is one vital truth that cannot be denied; that the truth remains the truth whether or not anyone chooses to believe it or not.
Almost everything I have every written regarding the Civil War, and our Constitution for that matter, is a matter of historical record; anyone who had the inclination could have found that information for themselves with a little researching.
Coming right on the heels of my Independence Day rant I hadn’t wanted to discuss the Civil War again quite so soon. However, it would seem that there was some misunderstanding regarding what I had written; therefore I am forced to try to clear the air on the matter; that is if anyone will listen to what I have to say.
All this came about because some believed I was trying to imply that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War. That is not the case, nor have I ever said that. I have only stated that slavery was not the cause of the Civil War; and there is a distinct difference between being the cause of something, and having something to do with it.
For those who believe that the fact that the South wanted to keep their slaves was what started the Civil War is like saying that the tax on tea in 1773 is what started the American Revolution. Sure, it played a part in leading up to the Revolution, but it was not the sole cause; there were many other injuries the Colonies were subjected to both before and after the Tea Act of 1773, and yet it took the Kings men attempting to disarm the Colonists at Lexington and Concord before the actual war for independence began.
Many who disagreed with what I said provided quotes from the Declarations of Secession by some of the Confederate States as proof that slavery was the cause of the Civil War. I’ll accept that interference in the institution of slavery was one of the reasons many of the Southern States seceded from the Union. But, does that make slavery the cause of the Civil War, or was it the secession of South Carolina and 6 other States which led to hostilities between the North and South?
Would there even have been a war had not Abraham Lincoln sent forth a message to the States calling for an army of 75,000 men to invade the States which had issued declarations of secession? War is usually started when one side opens hostilities towards another. Aha you say, but South Carolina did start the war by firing upon Fort Sumter. But as South Carolina was no longer a part of the Union, what were Union forces doing on their soil?
Prior to the election of Abraham Lincoln a sort of gentleman’s agreement had been made between President James Buchanan and South Carolina. Tensions were already high so Buchanan sought to appease South Carolina by promising that he would not send troops to Fort Sumter to restock or re-equip them with more arms. Lincoln ignored that agreement and sent reinforcements to Fort Sumter; which of course since it was situated on South Carolina soil was considered an act of aggression by the Lincoln administration against the sovereign people of South Carolina; so of course they responded by attacking the Union forces inside Fort Sumter.
Fort Sumter gave Lincoln what he wanted, the appearance of being a victim of open hostility and aggression by a seceded Southern State. That was all he needed to justify raising an army to quell, what he called rebellion in the Southern States. Had South Carolina not fired upon Fort Sumter, and had Lincoln sent his army into the South, he would have been seen as the aggressor in whatever conflict followed. So Lincoln goaded South Carolina into firing first; much as the same way America would later goad Japan into attacking us at Pearl Harbor as a way for FDR to justify U.S. involvement in the war going on in Europe against Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
If slavery is, as many people believe, the cause of the Civil War, why is it that only the South is blamed for it? There were slaves in the North as well; although not to the same extent as there were in the South. There were many in the North who became quite wealthy off the importation into the U.S. of slaves from Africa; why are they not blamed for slavery and their names given the shame they deserve? If slavery is/was such a bad thing, why don’t we place the blame where it truly belongs, upon the shoulders of the 56 delegates to the Constitutional Convention who could have ended slavery right then and there by including a clause in the Constitution prohibiting it?
There’s plenty of blame for slavery to go around; both in the North and the South. As horrific as the idea of one person owning another as property is, the Founders did not ban slavery in America; therefore it was a legal practice. The tensions arising over slavery arose from two issues; the refusal of many in the North to respect the Fugitive Slave Law, and the fact that Northern Republicans were attempting to prevent the spread of slavery into newly admitted States.
It is a matter of historical record that in 1860, when South Carolina seceded from the Union, that slavery was legal in the United States. It is also a matter of historical record that ten years prior to South Carolina seceding the Congress had passed the Fugitive Slave Act; requiring that all escaped slaves were to be captured and returned to their owners. As evil as slavery is/was, those were laws in existence at the time and many in the North were guilty of seeking to impose their will regarding slavery upon the South.
Again, I’m not supporting the idea of slavery as an institution; I’m merely stating that these were the laws as they existed in 1860 and that by the North’s repeated violations of them the South felt more than justified in leaving the Union and forming their own system of government which would best suit their needs.
I wonder, had we lost our war for independence from England, and not had July 4 to celebrate, how would we view those who fought against the Crown today; almost 250 years later? There is a quote that has been attributed to everyone from Walter Benjamin to Napoleon Bonaparte which states, “History is written by the winners” or some variation thereof.
Had we lost the Revolution our history books would have called men like Adams, Washington and Jefferson traitors; their names defamed and cursed. But we won, so Americans wrote the history regarding the American Revolution. The same is true as it pertains to the Civil War; the history of that conflict was written by authors in the North. In 1864 Major General Patrick Cleburne, of the Confederate Army, warned his fellow Southerners, “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”
That’s the truth regarding the Civil War; not that it was fought to free the slaves as we have been taught, but that it was fought by a government seeking to impose its will upon any State which chose to disobey, or leave the Union and form their own nation with their own system of government. So, in effect, the Civil War was a war fought against the very principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. How people don’t see the irony of both the author of the Declaration of Independence and the President who took our nation to war to obliterate the principles contained within that document is beyond me.
If slavery, and the interference in it by the North was the cause of the Civil War, why did Virginia not secede at the same time South Carolina did? There certainly were plenty of slaves in Virginia; so why didn’t they secede at the same time if slavery was all they were fighting for?
Could it be that the Civil War truly was fought over State authority against the encroaching power of the federal government rather than the lies we have been told? Another point from the historical record is that when Abraham Lincoln sent for his call to the States still remaining in the Union for 75,000 troops to quell the rebellion in the South, Virginia’s governor, John Letcher responded as follows, “In reply to this communication, I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the act of 1795 — will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited towards the South.”
Who inaugurated Civil War? Why, it wasn’t South Carolina as we have been taught, it was President Lincoln by his choosing to invade the states which formed the Confederacy; which Virginia immediately joined after refusing Lincolns call to provide troops against; as did Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
You can choose to call this period of American History by its given name; The Civil War, but I choose to call it America’s Second War for Independence. At the heart of this war was not the matter of slavery, but whether the States would subject themselves to the absolute dominion of the federal government or whether they held the right to sever the ties which bound them to a voluntary Union of Sovereign States whenever the government for that Union became destructive of the ends for which it was established, or sought to reduce them under absolute despotism. If those words sound remotely familiar it is because they were taken directly from the Declaration of Independence.
I’m pretty sure I know which side most will take on this subject, but I don’t care. I go where the facts take me, and the facts support a State’s right to sever whatever ties bound them to a union of States and its system of government. That makes the government, not the States which chose to sever ties with that government, the aggressor. It does not matter if slavery was a cause which led to secession; secession was uniformly held to be a State’s right by almost all; that is except by Abraham Lincoln.
I do, however, find it funny that just 12 years before the Civil War that a younger Abraham Lincoln stated, “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.” That is also a matter of historical record.
It’s funny how other nations have viewed America throughout its history. They often provide a clearer picture than we have here because they are not influenced by the divisions which fuel the issues. With that in mind, in 1861 the London Times published an article which, in part, said, “[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.”
You’re going to go on believing whatever you want to believe about this. But there is one final thought from the historical record that I’d like to share with you. Seventy-Five years before the Civil War Thomas Jefferson wrote something called Notes on the State of Virginia in which he spoke on a wide range of subjects. One of those subjects was his thoughts on the emancipation of slaves held in bondage. Jefferson proposed educating them and then colonizing them in some distant land. Jefferson stated his reasons for suggesting that as follows, “It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.”
You tell me, isn’t what Jefferson warned of coming to pass right before our very eyes as we see those who take offense at all things Confederate coming under attack; largely by a portion of society which feels that those images represent crimes wrought against their ancestors?
Like I said at the onset, everything I have stated can be verified if anyone should choose to spend a few hours researching the information on their own. But that won’t happen; people want to be spoon fed their information from a quote unquote, ‘reliable source’, and I’m anything but a reliable source as far as most people are concerned.
So what’s gonna happen is that people are going to continue believe lies, and the truth will remain hidden, and those who attempt to shed light on the truth will be called all manner of names and their words ignored. In other words; business as usual here in America.
~ 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.