Today’s political virtue-postings and “hue and cry” against the South’s Confederate monuments honoring her soldiers is based upon the specious charges of Treason, Slavery, and Racism. This, however, is “presentism,” which is history twisted to conform to present-day politics – in this case to today’s racist Progressive Identity Politics. Progressives have taken a page out of George Orwell’s 1984: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
To accuse the Confederacy of treason, one must first wipe one’s feet on the Declaration of Independence, signed by the thirteen slave-holding Colonies that seceded from the British Empire in 1776. Lincoln’s invasion of the Southern States, which he did not recognize as being out of the Union, is treason according to Article 3, Section 3 of the U. S. Constitution. Self-defense against invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance is not. No Confederate was ever tried for treason after the war.
To claim that the Confederacy “took up arms to destroy the Union in defense of slavery” please see above. To claim that the United States waged war against the Confederacy to end slavery, one must ignore not only Lincoln’s emphatic disclaimer to the contrary in his First Inaugural Address, but also the fact that his Emancipation Proclamation, issued two years later, stated plainly that slavery was alright as long as one was loyal to his government - proven the following summer when West Virginia, a so-called “slave State,” was admitted into the Union.
As for racism, please note that the first “Jim Crow” laws originated in the North. After many Northern States abolished slavery for its inutility in their mercantile economy, the owners sold their slaves South and the States passed “Jim Crow” laws prohibiting any Blacks – either slave or free - from returning. The North’s strong objection to slavery in the Territories was based on Northerners’ strong objection to Blacks in the Territories. The sainted Lincoln - himself a White supremacist who supported his home State of Illinois’ “Jim Crow” laws - worked until the day he died to have the freed Blacks deported to Central America or back to Africa.
As for Black racism, remember that it was Black Africans who captured and sold Black Africans into slavery in the first place. Furthermore, United States Census records in the nineteenth century listed many free Black owners of slaves in both the North and the South – some owning hundreds.
So what was the War “about”? Don’t confuse the many causes of secession with the single cause of the war, which was secession itself! The peaceful withdrawal of any State from the voluntary Union of sovereign States would have in no way prevented those remaining from having “a more perfect Union.” So what was the real reason for Lincoln’s war to “save the Union”? Follow the Yankee dollar and know the Truth. With the South’s “Cotton Kingdom” out of the Union, the North’s “Mercantile Kingdom” would collapse. So Lincoln – rejecting peace overtures by Confederate diplomats - launched his armada against Charleston Harbor to provoke South Carolina into firing the first shot. South Carolina responded to Lincoln’s provocation just as Massachusetts – the self-anointed “Patriot State” - had responded to King George’s provocation at Lexington and Concord in 1775.
Virginia, “The Mother of States and of Statesmen,” stood solidly for the voluntary Union of 1788 she had given so much to create and perpetuate. But when Lincoln called for her troops to invade and subjugate the Confederacy, Virginia refused, indicted Lincoln for “choosing to inaugurate civil war,” and immediately seceded. Four other States (including occupied Missouri) followed her out. There stands the Truth, not with the North’s “Court Historians” and their mythical “Battle-Cry of Freedom.”
Union at the point of a bayonet is slavery to a despotic government. Confederate monuments speak Truth to this Power. No wonder the Marxist heathen rage and have been incited to rioting, vandalizing, and tearing them down under the approving eyes of “The Party of Big Government” and its handmaidens in the media. And no wonder public schools, colleges and universities – government funded indoctrination centers for “The Myth of American History” – have cast the Truth down the Orwellian “memory hole.
I read your OpEd piece published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on this date. The VMI Honor Code, may I remind you, simply states that "A VMI Cadet neither lies, cheats, or steals, or tolerates those who do." You both are tolerating a lie in your assertions that "Stonewall" Jackson, a VMI professor, "took up arms to destroy the union in defense of the institution of slavery." This is "The Myth of American History," which is a lie. Voltaire said "History is the propaganda of the victorious," propaganda are steeped in lies by definition, and thus you both have tolerated a lie in violation of the VMI Honor Code.
If Jackson's statue offends your righteous sensibilities now that you have graduated, I question the sincerity of your convictions. Why didn't you speak out while you were a cadet? Better yet, why did you go to VMI in the first place? Now you post your righteous virtues by claiming as VMI graduates that VMI should "move forward" and remove Jackson's statue from in front of Jackson Arch. Will that appease your "Woke" sensibilities? As Kipling observed, "As long as you pay the Dane-geld/You never get rid of the Dane."
If your righteous sensibilities compel you to advocate the removal of Jackson's statue, won't they compel you by the same token to advocate renaming Jackson Memorial Hall? What about doing away with the New Market Day Parade, and the passing in review and saluting those ten boys who died fighting for the Confederacy who rest beneath Sir Moses Ezekiel's "Virginia Mourning Her Dead"? Or will you suggest digging them up and getting them off of the post altogether? Or how about removing Ezekiel's statue along with them? He, you know, was in C Company at the Battle of New Market, making him another one of those reprehensible people who evidently offends your righteous sensibilities.
There is more. How about digging the Yankee cannonballs out of the barracks that were fired there by the vandal Union General David Hunter, who shelled and burned the Institute, who burned Governor Letcher's home in town, and who left in his wake on his march to Lynchburg burning houses and plundered and wailing civilian women and children, both white and black, until he met General Jubal Early, who chased this Yankee "Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie" clean out of the State like the coward that he was in meeting real soldiers.
Now I know there are "extenuating and mitigating circumstances" that you might plea in your defense before the VMI Honor Court. You may not have realized that your accusations against General Jackson and his statue are based upon this hundred-and-fifty-year-old lie known as "The Myth of American History." Therefore, I would think an honorable VMI Honor Court would not have you drummed out had you honestly not known the Truth. Therefore, I have taken the liberty to attach the Truth herein, so that in the future you will not find yourself in error. But now that you do know the Truth, you cannot be exonerated next time on a plea of ignorance.
H. V. Traywick, Jr.
VMI Class of 1967
“Divide et impera” – Ancient political maxim quoted by Machiavelli
The agitation over Confederate monuments rests upon The Myth of American History, which proclaims that “The Civil War was all about slavery, the righteous North waged it to free the slaves, and the evil South fought to keep them. End of story. Any questions?”
Well, yes. Something doesn’t compute, here. If the North were waging a war on slavery, why didn’t she wage war on New England cotton mills and their profits from slave-picked cotton? Or on New York and Boston, the largest African slave-trading ports in the world according to the January 1862 Continental Monthly? Or on Northern shipyards that outfitted the slave ships? Or on New England distilleries that made rum from slave-harvested sugar cane to use for barter on the African coast? Or on the African slavers themselves, such as the Kingdom of Dahomey, who captured their fellow Africans and sold them into slavery in the first place? And why did Abraham Lincoln choose to inaugurate the bloodiest war in the history of the Western Hemisphere to, in effect, drive Southern slavery back into the Union? And why did his Emancipation Proclamation – a cynical, desperate war measure of his total war against the South that did not pretend to free any slave who was not behind Confederate lines, and which was not issued until halfway through the war when the South was winning it - say that slavery was alright as long as one was loyal to his government – proven the following summer when he admitted West Virginia, a “slave State,” into the Union? And why did he work until the day he died to deport blacks back to Africa? And why was slavery Constitutional in the North throughout the entire war?
Do not make the common mistake of confusing the many causes of secession – including slavery in the Territories (racist Northerners wanted to keep the Territories, as well as their own States, “lily-white”), Radical Abolitionist terrorism, the North’s extortionate tariffs against the agrarian South, Southern States’ rights vs. the North’s unconstitutional empowerment of the central government, and, finally and particularly, the election of Lincoln, the presidential candidate of a strictly Northern sectional political party in vitriolic enmity against the South – do not confuse all of these causes of secession with the single cause of the war, which was secession itself! With the South’s “Cotton Kingdom” out of the Union and set up as a free trade confederacy on the North’s doorstep, the North’s “Mercantile Kingdom” would collapse! So Lincoln rebuffed every Southern overture for peace, launched an armada against Charleston Harbor to provoke South Carolina into firing the first shot, got the war he wanted (causing Virginia and four other States to secede when he called for their troops to help subjugate the “Cotton Kingdom”), and drove the Southern States back into the Union at the point of the bayonet. Then, with an Army of Occupation and the pretense of law, a corrupt Northern political party imposed a vindictive Reconstruction on the South that transformed the voluntary Union of sovereign States into a coerced industrial Empire.
Results? For the North? “The Gilded Age.” For the South? Grinding poverty in a land laid waste until the Second World War. For the Blacks? A recent study of military and Freedman’s Bureau records has revealed that between 1862 and 1870 perhaps as many as a million ex-slaves, or twenty-five percent of the population, died of starvation or became seriously ill from disease epidemics and neglect under their Northern “liberators”! Freed from their master’s care, Lincoln had told them to “root hog, or die.” Black enfranchisement in the South (but not in the North), was merely another cynical tool of the North’s subjugation of the South, and once she had achieved it, the North abandoned her Black puppets to the upheaval she had wrought in Southern society and turned her attention to the Plains Indians, who were in the way of her trans-continental railroads. But let the Indians tell you that story. Freedom? Union at the point of the bayonet is slavery to a totalitarian government. Equality? Chronic Black riots in segregated Northern ghettos speak for themselves, but they keep Desperate White Liberals busy designing crusades upon which to post their own specious virtues and to divert credulous Black attention onto Southern scapegoats.
The latest are attacks on Confederate monuments honoring men who defended our homeland against invasion, conquest, and a coerced political allegiance - just as their fathers had done in 1776 when the thirteen slave-holding Colonies – from Georgia to Massachusetts – seceded from the British Empire. But I have some bad news for the crusaders: You may tear down every Confederate monument on the face of the earth and it won’t change a thing. That is the monumental truth! But these attacks have nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with Progressive virtue-posting and their divide-and-rule identity politics, so when all of the Confederate monuments have been vandalized and torn down, who will their next targets be?
In his book History in Three Keys, author Paul A. Cohen says there are three ways of looking at history. The first is the historian’s objective to understand the past intellectually and then explain it as “event”, or for its own sake. This is the definition of “historicism,” and is the objective of all who seek the truth. The second way of looking at history is that which is related by those who made it, those who lived it and lived through it, that is, history explained as “experience.” These narratives may necessarily have a more restricted view than those of the professional historian. The historian may be compared with the general on the hill with his broad view of the battle as it unfolds, while those relating their experiences may be compared with the soldiers in the ranks down on the field assaulting the breastworks in the smoke and confusion of battle. Another difference is the historian tries to look at the past with a detached objectivity, whereas the people who made the history tend to look at it more subjectively, and in a fashion that tends to be psychologically tolerable to themselves. If such subjectivity becomes validated by communal consensus, then myths can be created in place of intellectual truth. “Myth” is the third way of looking at history (1). If this myth, this collective view of history, is made to conform to the politics of the day, then this is called “presentism,” which is not history at all, but political propaganda.
The North’s war to prevent the South’s independence is a glaring example. Today, the simple and obvious truth in that description of what the North calls “The Civil War” is derisively dismissed as “The Myth of the Lost Cause.” The story trumpeted from the heights is that the war (2) was all about slavery, that the righteous North fought to free the slaves and the evil, treasonous South fought to keep them. End of story. Any questions? Well, yes. Something doesn’t compute, here. Could it be that this is what Voltaire called “The propaganda of the victorious?” Could it be that this in itself is a myth, “The Myth of American History” – a smelly “red herring” to throw us off the scent of a colossal usurpation of power? The North was just as complicit in slavery as the South. Slave-produced staples were the backbone of the North’s economy, while Northern-induced tariffs sucked the life’s blood out of the South for the profit of the North’s industries. Northern wealth was further built on the African Slave-trade, from Colonial times right on until the war of the 1860s. The January 1862 Continental Monthly stated that New York was the largest African Slave-trading port in the world, with self-righteous, Abolitionist Boston second (2). Many of the most prominent families with the fine old names of New England made their fortunes importing “Black Gold” from the African coast. The founder of Brown University, in Rhode Island, who founded it with money from the African Slave-trade, said he saw no more crime in bringing off a cargo of slaves than in bringing off a cargo of jackasses (3).
So what was the war really all about? Follow the “Yankee dollar.” The slavery issue was the North’s “red herring” used as moral cover for the true “Irrepressible Conflict” that was building within her classical mercantile system: the conflict between an increasingly predatory Northern industrial and mercantile center that wanted to burst the constraints of the Constitution and centralize the power of the Federal Government into its own hands through the tyranny of its ever-increasing majorities in order to promote its ambitions, and a resistant Southern agricultural periphery that insisted on the federative nature of the Union each State had acceded to with its ratification of the Constitution – the charter of the Union - since the Founding in 1788. This came to a crisis in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln, which brought to power an economically exploitive and strictly Northern sectional political party in vocal and vitriolic enmity against the South, which resulted in the secession of seven States of the Deep South.
As we all know, the peaceful secession of the seven “Cotton States” should have resolved the differences, but “Cotton was King,” and with these States out of the Union, the North would have lost its largest source of cotton for its mills, its largest source of tariff revenues, its largest source of exports for its shipping, a major market for its manufactured goods, and control of the mouth of the Mississippi. The free-trade South would do business with England while the North’s economy would collapse into bankruptcy and social anarchy. Therefore – at the behest of the Northern industrialists, railroad magnates, financiers and crony capitalists who had gotten him elected – Lincoln provoked the South into firing the first shot and got the war he wanted, which drove Virginia and four more States out of the Union and into the Confederacy when Lincoln called for their troops.
For four years Lincoln marched his armies across the South to the tune of the militantly Puritanical “Battle Hymn of the Republic” - burning, pillaging, raping, and killing - and drove the Southern States back into the Union at the point of the bayonet. As many as 38,000 citizens in the North who disagreed with Lincoln’s policies got locked up without trial after he suspended the writ of habeas corpus in 1862, with opposition printing presses being destroyed by Federal troops. Lincoln’s lofty rhetoric in his Gettysburg Address – claiming his war of invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance was in order to save “government of the people by the people for the people” – is pure Orwellian doublespeak, while his Emancipation Proclamation - a desperate war measure issued halfway through the war when the South was winning it – plainly stated that slavery was alright as long as one was loyal to his government. This was proven the following summer when he admitted West Virginia – a so-called “slave-State” – into the Union. But that exposes “The Myth of American History” as a “red herring” masking a murderous usurpation of Power. As a result, any attempt by the South to expose this truth is derided and dismissed as “The Myth of the Lost Cause.” It has so corrupted our culture that even the Virginia Historical Society’s web site states that the “Lost Cause” narrative was “developed by former Confederates who claimed that states’ rights, not slavery, caused the war; that enslaved blacks remained faithful to their masters; and that the South was defeated only by overwhelming numerical and industrial strength…” Paul Kennedy, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, debunks the Virginia Historical Society’s corrupt, Politically Correct Yankee narrative by detailing the North’s advantages in men and materiel and making the truth of the “Lost Cause” narrative abundantly clear (4). But Winston Churchill, in his monumental four-volume work entitled A History of the English Speaking Peoples, sums it all up with a clear and unbiased picture of not only the disparity between the combatants, but the loyalty of most of the slaves: “Twenty-three states, with a population of twenty-two millions, were arrayed against eleven states, whose population of nine millions included nearly four million slaves… Most of the slaves, who might have been expected to prove an embarrassment to the South, on the contrary proved a solid help, tending the plantations in the absence of their masters, raising the crops which fed the armies, working on the roads and building fortifications, thus releasing a large number of whites for service in the field” (5).
The loyalty of the slaves was a problem for Lincoln during the war, and led in part to his issuing his Emancipation Proclamation. In addition to helping to keep Britain and France from recognizing the Confederacy, it was hoped that it would disrupt the South’s “support troops” and perhaps even provoke a slave insurrection, which would empty the Confederate ranks. But beyond causing runaways to be enlisted into the US Colored Troops, and the internment of so-called “contraband” slaves in pestilential contraband camps in Union-controlled areas, there were no insurrections. The loyalty of the slaves during the war made for treasured stories in Southern family lore and headaches for the Lincoln war effort, while after the war it caused political problems for the carpetbaggers and the Radical Republicans during Reconstruction. They needed the votes of the newly freed blacks to cement their political control over the conquered Southern States. It took them two years to accomplish this, as we shall see.
Lincoln’s plan of Reconstruction was for the same State governments that had taken the Southern States out of the Union to bring them back in, but Lincoln’s assassination interrupted that plan. As Walter Lynwood Fleming wrote in his book The Sequel of Appomattox, Vice-President Andrew Johnson, sworn in as President, tried to continue with that policy, and a majority of the war-weary Northern people would have supported it - except for three personalities: President Johnson’s obstinacy and bad behavior; Radical Congressman Thaddeus Stevens’ vindictiveness and parliamentary tyranny; and Radical Senator Charles Sumner’s obstinate and misguided humanitarianism (6).
During the war, Lincoln had recognized the Virginia Unionist government of Governor Francis H. Pierpont, which consisted of Pierpont, and thirteen others acting as the “General Assembly of Virginia.” Their domain encompassed the Cities of Alexandria and Fairfax (right across the river from Washington) and from it Lincoln claimed “Virginia’s” electoral votes in the election of 1864. In February of 1864, Pierpont drafted a new State constitution that abolished slavery in Virginia and denied the vote to any who had supported the Confederacy. After the war, President Johnson decided to use the Pierpont government, naming Pierpont as the provisional Governor of Virginia, and subjecting him to the Federal military authorities of the State. Pierpont called for an October election for both the Virginia General Assembly and for Virginia’s representatives in the US Congress (7).
In December, 1865, the Virginia General Assembly and the US Congress met on the same day. The Virginia and other Southern representatives to Congress could not take the oath prescribed by the Radicals who were in control, and they were not allowed to take their seats. For four more years, Virginia had no representation in the US Congress. Virginia’s few original “Union men,” under the Radical John C. Underwood, petitioned Congress to set aside the State government and organize a Territorial government for Virginia (8). With the Southern States out of the Union, the Northern Radicals were in control and they intended to keep it that way. Representative Thaddeus Stevens stated: “The future condition of the conquered power depends on the will of the conqueror. They must come in as new States or remain as conquered provinces. Congress … is the only power that can act in the matter… Congress must create States and declare when they are entitled to be represented… As there are no symptoms that the people of these provinces will be prepared to participate in constitutional government for some years, I know of no arrangement so proper for them as territorial governments. There they can learn the principles of freedom and eat the fruit of foul rebellion…” (9)
In that session, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the US, was drafted, sent to the States, and ratified. But immediately thereafter, the Fourteenth Amendment was proposed over President Johnson’s veto. This Amendment gave illiterate Blacks – North and South - the right to vote and serve on juries. It provided that if any State denied the right to vote to any of its citizens, its representation in the House of Representatives would be reduced proportionately. It barred from Federal and State offices all supporters of the Confederacy, and it required the Southern States to repudiate their war debt, but share in the payment of the Union war debt. Tennessee ratified, but the ten ex-Confederate States that rejected it lost their identities in March of 1867 with the passage by Congress of the First Reconstruction Act (10):
“WHEREAS no legal State governments or adequate protection for life or property now exists in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas; and whereas it is necessary that peace and good order should be enforced in said States until loyalty and republican State governments can be legally established: Therefore
It might be asked that if these States were out of the Union and under martial law, how could they ratify an amendment to the Constitution of a Union they were not in, and if they were in the Union, how could they be compelled to ratify it? The answer, of course, is, at bottom, Federal bayonets. The voluntary Union of sovereign States created by the Founders was being revolutionized into a coerced Yankee Empire. As Walter Fleming said, “The war had been fought upon the theory that the old Union must be preserved; but the basic theory of the reconstruction was that a new Union was to be created… Northern observers who were friendly to the South or who disapproved of this radical reconstruction saw the danger… In this connection the New York Herald remarked: ‘We may regard the entire ten unreconstructed Southern States, with possibly one or two exceptions, as forced by a secret and overwhelmingly revolutionary influence to a common and inevitable fate. They are all bound to be governed by blacks spurred on by worse than blacks – white wretches who dare not show their faces in respectable society anywhere…’” (12)
Strangers and unscrupulous adventurers from the North, often with their entire worldly possessions carried in a carpetbag, came flocking into the South with the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Union Leagues to pick over the bones like buzzards. The Freedmen’s Bureau was an agency whose purpose was to help the Blacks adjust to the new order. Many in the Bureau were honest and charitable, but many were corrupt. The Freedmen’s Bureau with their promises of “forty acres and a mule” did much to break down the influence of “Ole Marster,” but it was the Union Leagues that had the real influence in organizing the Blacks for Radical purposes. The Union League was formed in the dark days during the war to revive the failing spirits of the Northern people. After the war, emissaries of the League flocked to the South to organize the Blacks and turn them into good voting Radicals. As Claude Bowers wrote in his work The Tragic Era, “Left to themselves, the negroes would have turned for leadership to the native whites, who understood them best. This was the danger. Imperative, then, that they should be taught to hate – and teachers of hate were plentiful…” (13)
Walter Fleming described the work of the Union Leagues: “The Union League of America had its origin in Ohio in the fall of 1862, when the outlook for the Union cause was gloomy…. The members were pledged to uncompromising and unconditional loyalty to the Union, to complete subordination of political views to this loyalty, and to the repudiation of any belief in state rights…. With the close of the Civil War the League did not cease its active interest in things political. It was one of the first organizations to declare for negro suffrage and the disfranchisement of Confederates; it held steadily to this declaration during the four years following the war; and it continued as a sort of bureau in the radical Republican party for the purpose of controlling the negro vote in the South…. By the spring of 1866 the negroes were widely organized under this leadership, and it needed but slight change to convert the negro meetings into local councils of the Union League… Over the South went the organizers, until by 1868 the last negroes were gathered into the fold…. The influence of the League over the negro was due in large degree to the mysterious secrecy of the meetings, the weird initiation ceremony that made him feel fearfully good from his head to his heels, the imposing ritual, and the songs. The ritual, it is said, was not used in the North; it was probably adopted for the particular benefit of the African… He was told to the accompaniment of clanking chains and groans that the objects of the order were to preserve liberty, to perpetuate the Union, to maintain the laws and the Constitution, to secure the ascendancy of American institutions, to protect, defend, and strengthen all loyal men and members of the Union League... The council then sang Hail, Columbia! and The Star Spangled Banner, after which an official lectured the candidates, saying that though the designs of traitors had been thwarted, there were yet to be secured legislative triumphs and the complete ascendancy of the true principles of popular government, equal liberty, education and elevation of the workmen, and the overthrow at the ballot box of the old oligarchy of political leaders. After prayer by the chaplain, the room was darkened, alcohol on salt flared up with a ghastly light as the ‘fire of liberty,’ and the members joined hands in a circle around the candidate, who was made to place one hand on the flag and, with the other raised, swear again to support the government and to elect true Union men to office... White men who joined the order before the negroes were admitted and who left when the latter became members asserted that the negroes were taught in these meetings that the only way to have peace and plenty, to get ‘the forty acres and a mule,’ was to kill some of the leading whites in each community as a warning to others. In North Carolina twenty-eight barns were burned in one county by negroes who believed that Governor Holden, the head of the State League, had ordered it… That outrages were comparatively few was due, not to any sensible teachings of the leaders, but to the fundamental good nature of the blacks… The relations between the races, indeed, continued on the whole to be friendly until 1867-68… With the organization of the League, the negroes grew more reserved, and finally became openly unfriendly to the whites…” (14) To further cement power, the Blacks were compelled to join the Union League Militia to keep any Conservative Blacks in line, and to intimidate the Whites (15).
Radical Republican plans were well-laid for control of Virginia: The Freedmen’s Bureau, Union League, and office-holding carpetbaggers would deliver the Black vote, while the Federal Army of Occupation would correct any slips. Two prominent Radicals were the carpetbagger Judge John C. Underwood and the scalawag Reverend James W. Hunnicut. Underwood included Blacks on a Virginia jury for the first time, and delivered an inflammatory address to the accusing Confederates of being motivated by the “fiery soul of treason” and deliberately murdering Federal Prisoners of War by starvation, yellow fever, and smallpox. Hunnicut operated a Radical newspaper in Richmond after the war in which he told the Blacks: “The white race have houses and lands. Some of you are old and feeble and cannot carry the musket but can apply the torch to the dwelling of your enemies…” (16)
Robert Somers, an English visitor to the South five years after the war, describes the upheaval wrought by Reconstruction and the Union Leagues: “The negroes, after the Confederate surrender, were disorderly. Many of them would not settle down to labour on any terms, but roamed about with arms in their hands and hunger in their bellies; and the governing power, with the usual blind determination of a victorious party, was thinking only all the while of every device of suffrage and reconstruction by which ‘the freedmen’ might be strengthened, and made, under Northern dictation, the ruling power in the country. Agitators of the loosest fibre came down among the towns and plantations, and, organizing a Union league, held midnight meetings with the negroes in the woods, and went about uttering sentiments which, to say the least, in all the circumstances were anti-social and destructive. Crimes and outrages increased. The law, which must be always more or less weak in all thinly populated countries, was all but powerless; and the new Governments in the South, supposing them to have been most willing, were certainly unable to repress disorder, or to spread a general sense of security throughout the community. A real terror reigned for a time among the white people; and in this situation the ‘Ku-Klux’ started into being. It was one of those secret organizations which spring up in disordered states of society, when the bonds of law and government are all but dissolved, and when no confidence is felt in the regular public administration of justice. But the power with which the ‘Ku-Klux’ moved in many parts of the South, the knowledge it displayed of all that was going on, the fidelity with which its secret was kept, and the complacency with which it was regarded by the general community, gave this mysterious body a prominence and importance seldom attained by such illegal and deplorable associations. Nearly every respectable man in the Southern States was not only disfranchised, but under fear of arrest or confiscation; the old foundations of authority were utterly razed before any new ones had yet been laid, and in the dark and benighted interval the remains of the Confederate armies – swept, after a long and heroic day of fair fight, from the field – flitted before the eye of the people in this weird and midnight shape of a ‘Ku-Klux-Klan’” (17). As a result, harsh new Federal “force” laws were enacted, usurping the power of state courts, and enabling the Federal Government to enforce the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment (18).
In October, 1867, the eligible voters of Military District Number One elected delegates to a Constitutional Convention. Of the 102 delegates seated, 32 were Conservatives and 70 were Radicals. Of the Radicals, 25 were Black, 6 were from foreign countries, and the rest were carpetbaggers or scalawags. Judge Underwood presided, and therefore it was known as “The Underwood Convention” (19). It met in Richmond in December of 1867. A letter written by Joseph A. Waddell, a Conservative member of the Convention, representing Augusta County, gave a description of the body: “The white Radicals are a motley crew. Some of them have apparently little more intelligence than the negroes, and have doubtless come from the lowest ranks of the people. The leaders, with three or four exceptions, are Northern men who came to this State with the Federal army in the capacity of petty officers, chaplains, commissaries, clerks, sutlers, etc. Others were probably employees of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and when that institution dispensed with their services were left here stranded like frogs in a dried-up mill-pond. Having no other resource they plunged into politics. They are now jubilant in the receipt of eight dollars a day from the treasury of the State, and happy in anticipation of the fat offices they are to get by means of the same voters who sent them to the Convention. In regard to the latter particular, however, they may be disappointed. The negroes have their eyes on the same places for themselves, and will probably claim them. ‘Dr. Bayne’” (a Black Radical from Norfolk) “would not hesitate to take a seat on the bench of the Court of Appeals… The Radical members of the Convention were of course elected by the votes of negroes, the whites yielding to apathy in many counties where it might have been otherwise. Some of the Northern leaders were men of good talent, but all were, more or less, possessed by a spirit of vindictive hostility to everything distinctively Virginian, and sought to frame all the institutions of the State according to the New England pattern” (20).
In a description of the proceedings of the 29th of January, 1868, Waddell states: “I have a suspicion that some of the white Radicals are getting sick of their black allies. The white leaders expected the blacks to be a very tractable set of voters, so excessively in love with ‘the old flag,’ and so thoroughly ‘loyal,’ as to give all the good fat places to the pale-faces. But genius will assert itself, - the star of Africa is in the ascendant, and the light of its civilization is dawning upon us. The new era, beginning with ‘equality before the law,’ has now reached the stage of ‘manhood suffrage,’ and the consummation of no distinction anywhere ‘on account of race or color’ is hastening on. No, not exactly that, - there is to be distinction, for the blacks seem to claim the honors and emoluments without bearing the burdens of government. The black speakers scold and hector their white associates, whom they suspect of an indisposition to toe the mark. Some of the latter cower and cajole, and do everything possible to conciliate. Others of the whites, however, are evidently restive. They have caught a Tartar” (21).
Eventually, and one-by-one, the Southern States – under carpetbag governments, “Black and Tan” conventions, and Federal bayonets – created and ratified Radical Constitutions that met with the approval of the Yankees, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, and the States (in the Union for purposes of rule and plunder but out of the Union for any recourse to Constitutional rights) were re-admitted to the Union and representation in Congress. With the voluntary Union of sovereign States thus transformed into a coerced Union “pinned together by bayonets,” (such a one as “held no charms” for General Lee), the Army and the carpetbaggers then went away to deal with the Indians and the trans-continental railways, leaving their Black puppets to the upheaval they had wrought in Southern society, but leaving also - as a legacy of their corrupt Union Leagues - a bloc of voters ready to be again exploited as Tools of Power by the Party of Big Government.
The only other thing I remember that we did before leaving Sydney was to go up to a theater in King’s Cross and see the play Hair. The “Age of Aquarius” had been dawning now for a few years and we thought we ought to go see about it. There we heard all the songs that had become familiar, and heard a sweet young thing sing a sweet duet with some young man about all sorts of creative sexual activities. Then the curtain dropped and rose again and there was the whole cast – men, women, black, white, and everything in-between - standing right out there buck-naked in front of everybody. Of course we had heard about this attraction ahead of time, and we wanted to go and make sure it was true. Then they all sang about the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and exhorted us to let the sun shine in….
Onto the End Times?
The revolution of the ‘60s was going on full blast, and Hair articulated it in a nutshell. It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, wherein Peace was to reign with Free Love and Flower Power. Everyone would “Make Love, not War,” and all would be “Free at last!” from the traditional conventions and restraints and bonds of our society – which evidently included (as Karl Marx said at the conclusion of his Communist Manifesto) all other existing social conditions as well – which, boiled down to its essence, of course, is the recipe for Anarchy. Much was said in Hair about personal freedom. Not much was said about personal responsibility.
But Hair was an eye-opener all right, and it got to me at a time when I was beginning to seriously question some things that, before, I had taken for granted. Hair capped the first milestone for me. The Aquarians would have been proud to know that. They probably wouldn’t have been as proud to know my considered conclusions, arrived at later.
“Anarchy is the chrysalis state of despotism,” said John Randolph of Roanoke, arguing with the authority of Classical Antiquity to back him up. The Greek historian Polybius observed that there are three successive forms of government, each with its good and bad aspect, and each giving way to the next in a retrogression: Monarchy brings order out of chaos, but it devolves into Tyranny; Aristocracy deposes Tyranny, but it devolves into Oligarchy; Democracy deposes Oligarchy, but it devolves into Mob Rule and Anarchy, and the cycle begins again. A revolution is only a paradigm shift that – if left to run its natural course – leaves the social structure in balance again at its conclusion. But there are those who profit politically from revolution, and who stand to lose when it ends. Therefore, in order to effect an artificial prolongation of the process and preserve their positions of revolutionary power rather than let the revolution run its natural course, they erect a totalitarian government – a Tyranny – over the body politic. This may be accomplished by the State’s deliberate destabilization and destruction of civil society (such as church, family, neighborhood, local government, etc.) which atomizes the people and leaves them exclusively dependent on the central government – which is the very foundation of totalitarianism. The methods employed to create this dependency vary from fear on the one hand to persuasion on the other - including the promotion and encouragement of a belief in both radical individualism and radical egalitarianism. Such a belief and practice verily defined the radical ‘60s revolution and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
“None but the people can forge their own chains; and to flatter the people and delude them by promises never meant to be performed is the stale but successful practice of the demagogue….” warned John Randolph of Roanoke. True Freedom is a noble and a precious thing, and is not to be found wallowing around in such as “the flesh-pots of Egypt” that the Children of Israel murmured for during the Exodus. Its rarity carries a high price that must be paid for in the coin of self-denial, not self-indulgence. While those who were paying for it were rolling in the mud in Vietnam and dodging AK 47 fire, the Aquarians were rolling naked in the mud at an indiscriminate groupie-grope called Woodstock, high on drugs and dodging the draft. Cloaking self-indulgence in robes of Freedom, and weak character in robes of self-righteous indignation, they were running away to Canada, burning draft cards, burning flags, burning cities, running for office, and – while better men were gone – getting themselves elected by squandering that which they had done nothing to earn. So much for the freedom of radical individualism.
As for radical egalitarianism, one need only to consider the works of God, “for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked?” (Ecclesiastes 7:13) God did not crank out mankind on an assembly line, as we are exhorted to believe according to the Communist philosophy and the machine age that spawned it. If “all men are created equal,” then Albert Einstein could go fifteen rounds with Mohammad Ali and fight him to a draw, and then Mohammad Ali could sit down with Albert Einstein in the locker room afterwards and intelligently discuss with him the Theory of Relativity. So, when we talk of Freedom and Equality we must define our terms, for the two conditions are mutually exclusive. If equality of opportunity is the goal, that is fine. If equality of outcome is the end promised, then it is a lie promulgated by political demagogues and revolutionaries. God created all men free. He did not create all men equal. It takes a totalitarian government to do that. Let the sun shine in….
Hamlet: Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?
Horatio: Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins, too.
Hamlet: They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that…
Hamlet, Act V, Sc. 1
Virginia today is under a Constitutional crisis. The Party of Big Government has absolute power here and is wielding it arbitrarily under authority of the tyranny of the majority. It is arbitrary power because it is unconstitutional. Notwithstanding any pettifogging legalese, “shall not be infringed” is as plain as English can be spoken. Recognizing that tyranny may come from a majority as well as from a monarch, the Founders constituted as the best guarantee against despotism a federal form of government that diffused power. Further recognizing that power corrupts, and that ambitious men will always find a way to gain power over constitutional restraints, the Founders implemented a Bill of Rights, which are the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. These enumerated rights are not rights granted by the government. They are inalienable, God-given rights that no just government may infringe, violate, or destroy. They may only be voluntarily relinquished by the people themselves. Ambitious men seeking dominion over their fellow citizens, therefore, may not force this on them. They must use persuasion. Powers of enforcement may come later. History has shown us the effectiveness of persuasion by the ministries of propaganda in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Today, modern information technology gives power-seekers advantages undreamed of by Stalin and Hitler.
The First Amendment protecting the right of free speech, and the Second Amendment guaranteeing the right to keep and bear arms have both been infringed with the acquiescence of the citizens by persuading them that these infringements will make them safer. One cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, and one may not walk the streets with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Most have agreed that these are reasonable infringements, but the danger to our civil rights and liberties lies in the fact that “reasonable” and “common-sense” are arbitrary terms that can be manipulated by power-seekers in government.
The more the inalienable rights of citizens are restricted, the more power accrues to government. Now we have arbitrary laws against “hate speech”, and arbitrary “common-sense” gun control laws. “Big Brother” is watching. Once implemented, there is no end to more. For one example, the Southern Poverty Law Center – a hate-based scam – may provide government with specious rationale for surveillance with its arbitrary “hate map,” potentially intimidating law-abiding citizens into silence; for another, gun registration schemes and “red flag” laws are the first steps towards unwarranted government search and seizure.
Government cannot implement these laws without the consent of the governed, but “the consent of the governed” is not universal. It is only the consent of a simple majority who have been persuaded to have their inalienable rights diminished or destroyed. But this destroys the inalienable rights of the minority who have not been so persuaded. There, then, is the tyranny of the majority: a naïve majority who are selling our inalienable rights down the river to the Party of Big Government in exchange for a specious promise of “security” - or a calculating majority in league with the Party of Big Government!
As Alexis de Tocqueville observed, political parties may be looked upon as lesser nations within a greater one, and in this country they are increasingly alien to each other. If one nation can act tyrannically towards another, can it be denied that a political party can act tyrannically towards another? If a man possessing arbitrary power may abuse it by wronging an adversary, may not a collective of men possessing arbitrary power do the same? Men do not change their character by uniting with one another. Asserting that the majority can do no injustice, and therefore its Rule of Law must be submitted to without question, is the language of a slave. In the reign of Henry VIII, Parliament decreed that one Richard Rose “be boiled alive without benefit of clergy” under the Rule of Law.
These arbitrary, unconstitutional “common-sense” gun laws imposed upon Virginia infringe not only on our guaranteed rights under the Second Amendment, but, with the frighteningly dangerous “red flag” laws, they infringe on due process, assuming a citizen is guilty until he proves himself innocent. As a result, Second Amendment sanctuaries have arisen like a flood tide across Virginia. They do not deny the right of the majority to command justly. They deny the right of the majority to command arbitrarily.
Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. - Aeneid (II, 49)
With the Democratic sweep of the Senate and House of Delegates, and with the statewide offices held by the Democrats, the party of Big Government and Progressive Identity Politics has triumphed in Virginia, “The Mother of States and of Statesmen.” The transformation is due to many factors: the Big Government tumor afflicting the brow of Virginia metastasizing and crossing the Potomac down I-95; the energy of civil society and social responsibility that is required for good government being undermined by the entropy dispensed by the welfare state and its subsidized destruction of the family and civil society; the technology of the internet, television, and social media that has abetted this leveling; the increasing prevalence of the public academy’s Marxist indoctrination of malleable minds and its sometimes intimidating discouragement of alternative discourse; the universal suffrage which has opened the field to demagogues, whose greed for office has them delving ever deeper in the mire for ignorant and irresponsible votes; and our godless radical democracy which deems the highest civic virtue to be that which is determined by the mob with the most people.
Progressives are celebrating. They love to lord it over conservatives and claim that they are on “the right side of history,” marching towards the Utopian dream of perfect equality. But conservatives know that history is not a linear march towards Utopia, but a cyclic march of folly, where Utopian dreams turn into totalitarian nightmares. Let us hope this one doesn’t.
To assert the dogma that slavery caused the war of the 1860s sanctifies the North, vilifies the South, glorifies the African-Americans, and mythologizes the war. This dogma has been asserted for a hundred and fifty years to put the South on the guilty defensive as scapegoat for all of America’s racial ills and keep her there, but it all collapses with one question: How? How, exactly, did slavery cause the war?
“Well,” you say, “just look at the Ordinances of Secession. They had slavery written all over them. And the Confederate Constitution specifically protected the institution.”
So? This does not explain a thing. Slavery was also protected under the US Constitution with the Fugitive Slave Clause (Art. IV, sect. 2), and nowhere was it prohibited. Slavery was not abolished in the United States until ratification of the 13th Amendment, after both Abraham Lincoln and the Confederacy were in their graves. Furthermore, not all Ordinances of Secession mentioned slavery as a cause of secession (such as Virginia’s). Most importantly for all of them, these ordinances were not Declarations of War, they were Declarations of Independence, just as in 1776, when the thirteen slave-holding Colonies seceded from the British Empire.
Slavery did not cause the war. The North admitted it in the New York Times (quoted in the Richmond Whig of April 9, 1861, just before Ft. Sumter):
“Slavery has nothing whatever to do with the tremendous issues now awaiting decision. It has disappeared almost entirely from the political discussions of the day. No one mentions it in connection with our present complications. The question which we have to meet is precisely what it would be if there were not a [N]egro slave on American soil..."
Lincoln said in his First Inaugural that he was waging war not to free the slaves, but to save the Union. Yet in his Second he insisted slavery was the cause:
“All knew that this interest (slavery) was, somehow, the cause of the war.”
Somehow! He attempts to explain precisely how by going on to say:
“To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than restrict the territorial enlargement of it…”
A moment’s reflection will show the fallacy of Lincoln’s remarks. In the first place, when the Southern States attempted to peacefully withdraw from the voluntary compact of sovereign States to which they had acceded, these so-called “insurgents” could not have been doing so to extend and strengthen slavery, for their very acts of secession automatically restricted it. With their secession, they not only renounced any claim to the Union’s territories, they renounced all other claims to any rights under the US Constitution as well, including the Fugitive Slave clause.
As for “rending” the Union “even by war,” the record shows that the South had nothing to gain and everything to lose by inaugurating a war with the industrial colossus at the north. She merely asked to be let alone, but Lincoln not only rebuffed all peace overtures extended by Southern diplomats, he refused to even see them.
Finally, if Lincoln’s assertion that the Federal Government only claimed to “restrict the territorial enlargement” of slavery, isn’t it supreme irony that while the secession of the Confederate States removed the majority (not all) of the slaves out of the United States, Lincoln waged the bloodiest war in the history of the Western Hemisphere to drive Southern slavery back into the Union?
So what, then, caused the war? Secession caused the war. There were many causes of secession but only one cause of the war, which was secession itself. The respected historian Barbara Tuchmab, in her book The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, calls the War of 1861-1865 "The North's War against the South's Secession." Lincoln admitted it when he said he was waging the war to "save the Union" - notwithstanding the fact that the seceded States were in no way depriving the Northern States from having all the Union among themselves that their hearts could desire. The South merely asked to be let alone. But with the South’s “Cotton Kingdom” out of the Union and free-trading with Europe, the North’s “Mercantile Kingdom” would collapse. So Lincoln raised his imperial fist above his lofty rhetoric and launched an armada against Charleston to provoke South Carolina into firing the first shot to get the war he wanted. South Carolina responded to Lincoln’s provocation just as Massachusetts – the self-anointed “Patriot State” - had responded to George III’s provocation at Lexington and Concord in 1775. The rest is history, but it has been twisted out of shape to conform to the Progressive Identity Politics of our multi-cultural Empire.
But did the war end slavery or merely transform it? The Scriptures tell us (Proverbs 22:7, NIV) that "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." Allen Tate, in his biography of "Stonewall" Jackson (chapter VII), noted that the Northern atmosphere was charged with commerce and industry, which "required a different kind of slave. He would be a better slave; he would have the illusion of freedom."
“Ignorance is strength.”
- George Orwell, 1984
Today’s Big Government Progressives are giving perennial voice to vitriolic Confederaphobia, the latest manifestation being the crusade to tear down Confederate monuments. Let us drop the toxic demagoguery of Progressive Identity Politics and review the facts:
After the Revolutionary War, the thirteen former Colonies formed themselves into a voluntarily confederated Union of sovereign States. But with the election of Lincoln came the triumph of a strictly Northern political party of Big Government that would destroy the federative nature of the Union, consolidate power into the hands of the central government, put it under Northern control with its sectional majorities, and turn the agrarian South into its “cash cow,” just as England had done with her Colonies. Seven Southern States, then, attempted to withdraw peacefully from a Union with people who had been plundering them with tariffs while despising and slandering them at every turn.
But with the “Cotton Kingdom” out of the Union the North’s “Mercantile Kingdom” would collapse, so Lincoln – under the pious guise of “saving the Union” (now no longer voluntary) - launched an armada against Charleston Harbour to provoke South Carolina into firing the first shot, and to get the war he wanted for conquering the “Cotton Kingdom.” South Carolina responded just as Massachusetts, the self-anointed “Patriot State,” had responded at Lexington and Concord.
Virginia had stood for the Union until Lincoln called for her troops to subjugate the Confederacy, at which point she immediately refused, immediately seceded, and indicted Lincoln for “choosing to inaugurate civil war.” Four other States followed her out and joined the Southern States in their defense against invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance – just as in 1776, when the thirteen slaveholding Colonies seceded from the British Empire. The rest is history, although it has been twisted out of shape to conform to the toxic demagoguery of Progressive Identity Politics and “The Myth of American History” – or what Voltaire would call “The propaganda of the victorious.”
So what of the Confederate monuments? As Edmund Burke said, “You are gibbeting the carcass while your house is the haunt of robbers.” These monuments were raised to honor our fathers, just as were those in the North - and those after any other war - but to those increasing multitudes today who don’t know who their fathers are, this is an alien concept. Thus as atomized dependents of a collectivist State that throws to them sops and promises in return for their votes, they are continually being flattered by the toxic demagoguery of Progressive Identity Politics that glorifies their victim status. Vilifying Confederate monuments is merely the latest manifestation of this demagoguery. To the Big Government Progressives who are orchestrating this, however, these monuments stand as a rebuke and an indictment, so they must be speciously branded as monuments to “Jim Crow” by hired “Court Historians” and media commentators, and torn down by Progressive social justice warriors, rent-a-thugs, “wokescolds” and other assorted useful idiots in order to hide the Brave New Empire from its benighted minions.
“Is the past that is reconstructed by historians a revival or a ‘new show’?” Paul A. Cohen asks in his book History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (New York: Columbia UP, 1997). He answers that the history created by historians is different from the history made by the people of the times. The historian’s objective is to understand the past and then explain it as “event”, whereas those who made the history explain it as “experience”. The historian tries to look at the past objectively, whereas the people who made the history tend to look at it subjectively, and in a fashion that is psychologically tolerable to themselves. If such subjectivity becomes validated by communal consensus, then myths can be created in place of intellectual truth. “Myth” is the third way of looking at history.
Can an objective historian be a purveyor of myth? However committed he may be to the objective truth, he remains a product of his own culture, and he is subjected in varying degrees to its cultural imperatives, its “world view”. How much cultural subjectivity goes into a historian’s selection of historical matter to be examined or theses to be argued? How much pressure are professional historians under to be admitted to a course of study, to hold tenure, to gain grants, and to stay in good professional and financial graces with the powers that dispense these things?
It should come as no surprise to find that the most powerful nation in history has at its disposal the most powerful means of disseminating its own version of history. From the history books used in government-accredited schools and colleges with their facts given or omitted, to television “docu-dramas”, Hollywood romantics, National Park Service presentations, and the politically correct sensationalism of the media, America has just as much incentive to tell its own story as “creatively” as anyone, and it has its own stable of “Court Historians” with government-accredited PhDs groomed to tell it – and, when necessary, to shout down, deride, or debunk with voluminous obfuscation anyone who disagrees with it.
The North’s war against the South’s secession is a glaring example. The story trumpeted from the heights is that the war was all about slavery, that the North fought to free the slaves and the South fought to keep them. But something doesn’t compute, here. The North was just as complicit with slavery as was the South. Slave-produced staples were the backbone of the North’s economy, while Northern-induced tariffs sucked the life’s blood out of the South for the profit of the North’s industries. Northern wealth was further built on the illicit African Slave-trade to Cuba and Brazil. The January 1862 Continental Monthly stated that New York was the largest African Slave-trading port in the world, with Abolitionist Boston second. As for the Abolitionists, noted Independent Southern Historian Howard Ray White points out that there were three categories. The minority were for abolition and the education of freed slaves for responsible citizenship; the second were Exclusionists, who wanted to keep slavery out of their States and out of the Territories because they wanted to keep African-Americans out of their States and out of the Territories; the third category of Abolitionists were the Deportationists, who wanted to send the freed slaves back to Africa or to someplace in Latin America. Abraham Lincoln was of this last category.
So what was the war really all about? Follow the dollar. The slavery issue was the North’s “red herring” used as moral cover for the true “Irrepressible Conflict” that was building within her classical mercantile system: the conflict between an increasingly predatory Northern industrial center that wanted to burst the constraints of the Constitution in order to achieve its ambitions, and a resistant Southern agricultural periphery that insisted on the federative nature of that Constitution that was the charter of the Union of Sovereign States that each had acceded to with ratification in 1788.
The attempted peaceful secession of the seven “Cotton States” at the election of Lincoln, the presidential candidate of the first strictly sectional party in US history, should have resolved the differences, but with these States out of the Union, the North would have lost its largest source of cotton for its mills, its largest source of tariff revenues, its largest source of exports for its shipping, a major market for its manufactured goods, and control of the mouth of the Mississippi. The South would do business with England while the North’s economy would collapse into bankruptcy and social anarchy, so – at the behest of the Northern industrialists, railroad magnates, financiers and crony capitalists who had gotten him elected – Lincoln provoked the South into firing the first shot, got the war he wanted, marched his armies across the South to the tune of the militantly Puritanical “Battle Hymn of the Republic” - burning, pillaging, raping, and killing - and drove the Southern States back into the Union at the point of the bayonet. As many as 38,000 citizens in the North who disagreed with Lincoln’s policies got locked up without trial after he suspended the writ of habeas corpus in 1862. So much for the lofty sentiments of his Gettysburg Address. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued halfway through the war when the South was winning it, was not issued for the slave, but against his master. Its design was to keep Europe from recognizing the Confederacy, to deprive the Confederacy of some of her “support troops”, and perhaps to even spark a slave insurrection which would empty the Confederate ranks. Though many slaves ran away, most remained, looking after the farms and plantations, with many accompanying the Confederate armies.
It is common practice for us to confuse the causes of secession with the cause of the war, and the North wants to keep it that way, for the Truth is an indictment against it. Secession had many reasons, but the war was Lincoln’s choice. The noted historian Barbara Tuchman, in her book The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, called it “The North’s War against the South’s Secession.” It is the precise description of what the war was all about, proven when Lincoln raised his imperial fist above his lofty rhetoric.
During the secession crisis, Virginia, the “Mother of States and of Statesmen,” called a Peace Conference and tried to hold the Union together, but warned Lincoln that any attempt at coercion of the seceded States would mean war. When Lincoln called for troops with just that intention, Virginia indicted him for choosing to inaugurate civil war and immediately seceded. Just as the Prophet Nathan said to King David (II Samuel 12:7), Virginia’s secession forever says to “The Great Emancipator” residing in his Olympian temple on the Mall: “Thou art the man!”
But this doesn’t dance well to the plaintive fiddle tunes on a Ken Burns TV show, so the North’s war of invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance must be turned into an Orwellian war of liberation. This “doublespeak” is “The Myth of American History,” validated by communal consensus, and eternally re-enforced by “Court Historians,” government textbooks, Hollywood sensationalism, race-hustling politicians, and ham-fisted morality plays. But the Truth cannot be killed. It can only be buried alive.
A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, the author graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1967 with a degree in Civil Engineering and a Regular Commission in the US Army. His service included qualification as an Airborne Ranger, and command of an Engineer company in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star. After his return, he resigned his Commission and ended by making a career as a tugboat captain. During this time he was able to earn a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Richmond, with an international focus on war and cultural revolution. He is a member of the Jamestowne Society, the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Virginia, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Society of Independent Southern Historians. He currently lives in Richmond, where he writes, studies history, literature and cultural revolution, and occasionally commutes to Norfolk to serve as a tugboat pilot