History buff since childhood and voracious reader on the topic. I've also
examined original correspondence from the era this article covers and
visited many important sites related to it.
A civil war involves two parties:
- The existing government.
- The insurgents rising against that government.
By definition, a civil war is one in which the
insurgents fight for possession of the government's means of power. This
involves such things as:
- Seizing government buildings.
- Replacing existing bureaucrats and officials with
its own bureaucrats and officials.
- Seizing the Treasury and gaining control of the
In effect, it's a violent change of ownership. This is
not at all what the Confederacy did in the War of 1861.
In the War of 1861, the Confederacy didn't fight for
possession of anything the North had. It seceded from the North and was
subsequently invaded by the North. The Confederacy already its own
government, currency, government offices, and institutions. It had an
elected President, a capitol, and a complete government in place. It just
wanted its independence from a union that was no longer playing by the
rules. The war was started to prevent that independence.
Why did Confederacy secede? It wasn't because of
slavery, as the disinformed will tell you. Slavery wasn't even an issue
until late in the war, and Lincoln made it an issue to prevent England and
France from joining the war on the side of the Confederacy following the
Battle of Antietam (this is well-documented in the historical literature).
When Lincoln did make it an issue, he used the
Emancipation Proclamation as his tool. But if you read the text of the
proclamation, you see that it didn't outlaw slavery in any of the Union
states or in the border states the Union needed to win the war. It outlawed
it only in the Confederacy--where the Union didn't have control. Very
manipulative and disingenuous, but it had the intended effect.
So, what did lead to secession? The underlying
issue was federalism vs. confederation.
- Federalism means a strong central government. An
example today is North Korea. This is where we're headed.
- Confederation means an alliance of states (countries). An example today is the European Union. This is where we
The Constitution contained compromises between the two
philosophies, but the differences were not resolved. They would continue to
stew for decades. There was talk of war and succession, even as the ink
dried on the Constitution. The federalists pushed the envelope time and
again, ultimately culminating in a war to decide between the federalist
viewpoint and the confederation view the founding fathers had.
Because the federalists won, the War of 1861
transferred the bulk of power from the states to the central government.
Whether this was good or bad is still a point of contention. Consider it
from just the civil rights point of view, and you see there isn't a clear
- On the one hand, civil rights are easier to
enforce from a central position. The abolition of slavery is a prime
example (not truly abolished by law until the 1970s, and then de facto
forced on everyone in an albeit less onerous form).
- On the other hand, civil rights are easier to
abuse from a central position. The atrocities committed at Waco and the
long history of killings and other abuses committed by IRS employees are
Revisionists pick up on the slavery issue, ignoring
how emancipation was so poorly executed that it served as a means to abuse
people of color even further. If we look at the results this is what we see.
To wit, slaves were too valuable to lynch. Once no longer a slave, a person
of color no longer had economic value. So, the price tag for lynching
somebody was very low. The incidence of lynching went from about zero to
epidemic proportions once slaves were "freed." This doesn't make slavery
good or desirable, but being lynched while your family is terrorized isn't
exactly the same as being a free person.
Slavery was not an issue until late in the war. Union
soldiers didn't rally to "free the slaves." Read the various historical
accounts of how people of color were treated in the North and by the Union
soldiers, and the whitewashed (no pun intended) history peddled by school
textbooks is exposed for the fraud it is.
One reason for "freeing" the slaves was to remove from
the South their ability to feed their army. The Union had slaves in its own
army, the whole time. Another reason was to give the appearance to the
anti-slavery Europeans that this was a noble fight instead of an illegal
The central issue of the War of 1861 was the power
struggle between two factions that were in opposition at the founding of the
nation. The federalists eventually emerged as the victors, and consequently
we are today "enjoying" the financial devastation wreaked by a $9 trillion
federal debt foisted upon us by a federalist power that is not subject to
checks, balances, or even recall. That power also controls the ballots,
rendering federal elections moot.
A couple more definitions:
- In a democracy, the people elect the government
officials. This has its dangers, which is why Washington and Jefferson
warned against it.
- In a republic, elected officials elect the top
elected officials. One model for this was the Roman Senate. This also
has its dangers, which is why the Federalists were opposed to it.
The Constitution contained a compromise between the
two philosophies. That was a bicameral (two house) system. Thus, we had the
House of Representatives elected by the people and the Senate elected by the
state legislatures. This worked well for the people and for the various
From these concepts also rose the Democratic
Republican Party. Its opposition included the Federalist Party and the Whig
Party. Because the DR was so appealing, it dominated and could not be beaten
in the election process over the long term. So the solution was to
infiltrate and destroy it from within. Once that occurred, things very
rapidly progressed to the War of 1861.
Half a century later, freedom would take a nosedive
for everyone. 1913 was a year of total insanity (it gave us the IRS, for
example), and it spawned the 17th Amendment which set the stage for further
concentration of power. That Amendment removed the compromise and gave us a
unicameral system that made abuse far easier.
We don't know if the original idea of our founding
fathers would have prevailed or been better than what we have today. Logic
says it would, because absolute power corrupts absolutely and you avoid that
problem by not letting power become concentrated and by not letting it exist
beyond the consent of the governed. Today, states have almost no power and
the citizens don't have the power of the ballot because opposition is kept
off the ballot.
Opposition? But aren't the Democrats and Republicans
different parties? Yes, but in name only. Go back and review what happened
during Reconstruction, specifically on the issue of the "Chinese Problem."
Behind closed doors, these two parties merged. Why fight each other, when
you can just pretend to do so and keep people thinking they were choosing
between different ends of the same turd? Does it matter whether the Crips or
the Bloods mug you? No, you are still mugged.
If you read the history of each president and his
associates from 1870 forward, guess what? You keep seeing the same names.
There is a reason for that.
As a consequence of the War of 1861, the United States
changed from being a democratic republic to being a series of dynasties. The
people we "vote for" during the "elections" are nearly always front men and
almost never the actual players. This scheme allows criminals to escape
detection. The ability for states to opt out of the broken system we now
have was forcibly removed as a result of the War of 1861.
Now, go back and review what has happened with either
wing of the Demopublican Party "elected" and "in power." There's no
difference. We get more regulation and more spending, either way. Note that
spending equals taxes, because we have to pay for it one way or another.
So as long as people refuse to actually vote and
instead give into this false "choice" between wings of this single party, we
end up with less freedom and less money.
The Libertarian Party would take us back to a
Constitutional government that values individual freedom and makes
government accountable. If you vote LP, you aren't wasting your vote. If you
vote Demopublican, you are--because you are simply saying you don't care if
criminals steal your money and your freedom.
Back to the uncivil war. Don't think of the
Confederacy as a bunch of slavery-loving, racist rednecks who started a war
against their country. The truth is it was the slavery-loving, racist
Northerners who started a war against their country. They won, the country
lost. The slaves had the appearance of freedom, but the real freedom that
emerged from the Emancipation Proclamation was the freedom of mobs to lynch
people simply on the basis of how much melanin is in their skin.
Slavery was on its way out, as slaves were expensive.
The cotton gin was much cheaper. And, there were other problems in having
slaves. If Lincoln had really cared about the slaves, he would have provided
for a transition that included education and property grants, plus the right
to vote. These did not happen. Lynchings did. As has other victimization in
the years after Reconstruction, after WWII, and after the "Civil Rights
Decade" of the 1960s.
The real tragedy of the unCivil War is that the
country lost this war. Slaves were "freed," but other people also became
free to burn their homes, deny them gainful employment, terrorize them, and
hang them on the flimsiest of pretenses. People of color would wait an
entire century before obtaining freedom. That war didn't give it to them.