Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Civil War Truths

The subject of the Civil War is brought up a lot, but we rarely hear true facts. The name itself is a misconception, there was never a civil war. A civil war means a war within a country. In truth, this was a war between a union of states within the United States and the Confederate States of America. The southern states of the United States of America seceded and formed their own country. They even had their own currency and was trading with foreign countries.

Those who don't know true history might be wondering what I meant by a union of states. When the US government became upset over the secession of states, they decided on going to war. There were several states that refused to go to war against the the confederacy because they believed in the right of secession. Those states are referred to as border states and that's why it was a union of states that invaded the Confederate States of America. Lincoln did the same thing to the CSA that the British did to the USA when the colonies declared independence. 

In US history, those who fought the British soldiers are herald as heroes. In British history, those who fought for the USA are considered traitors. We often here people in the USA refer to Confederate soldiers as traitors. You see the similarities?

We're taught in school the south fired the first shot. That is true, but there is more to the story. A Union army was held up in Fort Sumter in South Carolina and was asked to leave. Eventually, the CSA stopped asking and began firing at the fort. The total number of casualties was one, a horse. The attack worked, the Union vacated the fort.

We're told the Civil War was about freeing slaves. That isn't the full truth. Lincoln did want to free the slaves, but his plan was to send them back to Africa or establish a reservation in the South West. Slavery was the legal reason for secession, but it wasn't the actual reason. What caused the southern secession wasn't slavery, but taxes and tariffs. The government was putting in place taxes and tariffs that did far more harm to the agriculture based south than the industrial north.

Slavery became a primary topic halfway through the war. British troops were preparing to assist the CSA from Canada and the French from Mexico. Lincoln knew this would mean defeat for the Union army. He knew slavery was out of favor in Europe so he devised a plan to make the war about slavery. This is when Lincoln came out with the Emancipation Proclamation that was suppose to free slaves in rebel states, you know, the states where he held no power. This had the desired affect, British and French armies retreated.

Today, the Emancipation Proclamation is herald at the document that freed the slaves, when in fact, it freed no slaves. Lincoln had no jurisdiction over the CSA and because it was directed at rebel states, it did not free slaves in border states and the USA as a whole. If the war was about freeing slaves, why didn't Union armies attack border and northern slave states?

Another thing we hear a lot about is the 3/5th clause in the Constitution. It's used as a slam against the founders in an effort to portray them as saying slaves were less than a whole human. Apparently, schools refuse to teach students how the 3/5th clause was an effort to end slavery. Slave states wanted to count slaves as a whole so they would have more representation in Congress. The 3/5th clause was to limit power to slave states by counting slaves as less than a whole.

Today, we're seeing confederate monuments being removed all over the country. If we really cared about freedom, we should be erecting more so that we are reminded of the right to secede from the USA. A country held together by force isn't really a country that represents liberty. The right to secede is one of the most powerful tools a citizen can have. The right to secede insures the USA is truly a republic and not a nation state. We might not agree with why a state secedes, but we must support its right.

I was reading a bunch of technical junk one day so I decided to give myself a break and read something else... Here's an excerpt...

"The Civil War might have been averted if Lincoln had realized two fundamental facts. First, the South had a different culture from the North, and placed a high value on preventing that culture from being destroyed by federal edict and government troops. Second, slavery as an institution was already being pulled into a deep grave by its own economic weight. All it needed was a little free-market push, and it would have been dead and buried."

"Explain that, Harry."

The older man took a deep breath."A slave was a huge capital investment. In 1850, an eighteen-year-old buck would bring upwards of a thousand dollars at auction. On top of that, the owner had to keep him fed, clothed, sheltered, and relatively healthy. That wasn't free. He also had to keep him working and prevent him from running away, which meant hiring an overseer. And then, the slave had an incentive to do just enough work to avoid a beating. So slave labor was not very cost-effective, and became less and less so the more rigorous the work. The railroads showed that."

"Enlighten me."

"Immigrant labor built the railroads, not slaves. Slaves were too valuable to risk. Railroad companies
worked their men 'til they dropped at twenty-five cents a day. If a man lost an eye from flying metal chips, or a foot from a dropped rail, that was his problem. Drag him off the line and call in another. The company wasn't out a nickel, let alone a thousand dollars."

"I hadn't realized that."

"Sure. Lots of workers died building the railroads. The old saying was that the railroad lines had 'an
Irishman under every tie.' Out in California, it was Chinese." Potter shook his head. "Owning a machine made sense. Owning a human who could get sick, die, run away, or choose to work as slowly as possible didn't make any economic sense at all. Which was why only a tiny fraction of southerners still owned slaves as of 1860. The issue was ultimately a cultural one, and it was central to the whole secession movement. Southerners who would never have been able to afford even one slave didn't want the government telling them how they had to live. Lincoln could have easily solved the problem in the marketplace, but he chose the battlefield."

"How so?"

"By having the government buy all existing slaves from their owners. The number of slaves was finite; slave importation had ended a half-century earlier in 1809, as proscribed in the Constitution." Potter laughed mirthlessly as he thought of something. "Now, that in itself is an amazing thing, when you think about it. The men who ran slave ships didn't get a nickel of government money, yet they agreed that in twenty years they would go out of business entirely.

Forget forcing companies out of business—can you imagine the reaction today if you just proposed a bill that would abolish government subsidies completely in twenty years and force all industries to cope with a free market?" Potter shook his head, as if to clear it of the heretical thought. "Anyway, with slave importation in 1860 having been dead for over half a century, the only new supply was slave women giving birth. Buy all slaves their freedom, and the slavery issue vanishes without a shot
being fired. Not to mention avoiding that pesky issue of seizing property without compensation."

"Would've been expensive."

"Dirt cheap compared to fighting a war," Harrison Potter said as he leaned back in his chair. "Not to mention the huge cost in lives. This mess we've got now is also a cultural issue. A month ago, I hadn't realized how true that was. Whoever wrote that piece in the Journal hit it right on the head—these people don't think they're doing anything wrong, and we've taught them they have nothing left to lose.And unlike slavery, the government can't take the moral high ground on this one," the President said quietly.

No comments:

Post a Comment