Stop the Presses: Lincoln Suppresses Journalism

Stop the Presses: Lincoln Suppresses Journalism

By Harold Holzer
2/20/2017 • Civil War Times Magazine

The Lincoln administration turned a blind eye to the First Amendment in the interest of national security.

The New York Tribune’s Horace Greeley privately thought Lincoln timid in the run-up to First Bull Run. But if Lincoln’s so-called timidity ever existed, it vanished quite soon after that battle—at least toward a new foe he judged nearly as dangerous as armed Rebels: Antiwar, anti-administration, anti-recruitment newspaper editors. Against these foes, the Union government commenced an additional war, which Greeley eventually came to support almost as ardently as the fight to restore the Union. Months earlier, Lincoln had assured delegates to a Washington peace conference that even in the wake of secession, he still believed a free press “necessary to a free government.” Outright rebellion altered his thinking on the subject, especially after the July battle that was supposed to  end the war in an afternoon. For his part, Greeley may have believed that, following the Bull Run defeat, Lincoln “still clung to the delusion that forbearance, and patience, and moderation, and soft words would yet obviate all necessity for deadly strife.” But the record suggests otherwise. Following Bull Run, the administration turned its attention not only to forging weaponry and raising more troops, but also to quelling home-front newspaper criticism that the president, his Cabinet and many Northern newspaper editors believed was morphing from tolerable dissent into nation-threatening treason.

 

In the wake of this tightened oversight, some Democratic war opponents tried arguing that constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press must remain absolute no matter what the danger of an armed revolt. Even Lincoln’s friend Edward Baker, in one of his final speeches in the U.S. Senate before accepting his fateful military commission, insisted that neither the eradication of slavery nor the preservation of the Union justified threats to “the liberty of the press.” Critics pointed out that the First Amendment unequivocally guaranteed: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” And Congress never did. This did not inhibit the administration from determining that in an unprecedented case of rebellion, and under the powers the president had claimed in order to crush it, military necessity superseded constitutional protection, and contingency trumped the organic assurances of freedom of expression within the Bill of Rights.

Based on this argument, the administration began conducting—or, when it occurred spontaneously, tolerating—repressive actions against opposition newspapers. At their most unobjectionable level, the safeguards were initially meant to keep secret military information off the telegraph wires and out of the press. But in other early cases censors also prevented the publication of prosecession sentiments that might encourage border states out of the Union. In an anonymous dispatch for the New York Examiner, presidential clerk William Stoddard probably spoke for the White House in complaining that, cut off from their usual sources, “the legion of daily newspaper reporters” roamed “the streets and camps…pouncing, with hawk-like avidity, upon every poor little stray item which, in their palmier days, they would have scorned to notice.” And some of those “items,” the administration believed, should remain secret.

Eventually the military and the government began punishing editorial opposition to the war itself. Authorities banned pro-peace newspapers from the U.S. mails, shut down newspaper offices and confiscated printing materials. They intimidated, and sometimes imprisoned, re – porters, editors and publishers who sympathized with the South or objected to an armed struggle to restore the Union. For the first year of the war, Lincoln left no trail of documents attesting to any personal conviction that dissenting newspapers ought to be muzzled. But neither did he say anything to control or contradict such efforts when they were undertaken, however haphazardly, by his Cabinet officers or military commanders. Lincoln did not initiate press suppression, and remained ambivalent about its execution, but seldom intervened to prevent it.

Did press dissent really pose an existential threat to national security? Probably not, certainly not in the free, loyal Northern states. But a frightened Northern public and most pro-Republican editors not only failed to object to the more paranoid view, they encouraged it, even when it triggered outright violence against newspapers. Perhaps, for these supportive editors, the additional appeal of reducing the Democratic competition seemed irresistible.

The Union military laid the foundation for press censorship well before Bull Run. Unable to read, much less censor, every newspaper published in the country, it acted promptly to control both the source and distribution points for news. Soon after the April attack on Fort Sumter, it cut the telegraph wires between Washington and Richmond. Then the administration banned the use of the postal service and other exchange routes in and out of the rebellious states. National papers with large circulations in the South—particularly the New York Herald—suffered considerably as their Southern readership dwindled. Soon all of Washington’s telegraph wires, the standard medium for transmitting news from city to city, fell under military control—as The New York Times founder Henry Raymond had learned to his consternation after Bull Run. In the aftermath of the stinging Federal defeat there, a season of official crackdowns on individual newspapers commenced. The hostility toward pro-peace, pro-slavery journals made the angry crowd that menaced the Herald offices after Sumter seem like a band of carolers by comparison.

 

Suppression fever flared up first in an area of northern Virginia that fell quickly under Union control. It was a “desecrated” flag that stimulated the eruption. On May 24, a young Lincoln protégé, the dashing Zouave Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, marched his colorfully attired men into Alexandria determined to tear down an offending Confederate flag from atop one of the town’s seedier hotels. Ellsworth captured the banner, but paid with his life when the innkeeper blew open his chest with a shotgun as the colonel descended the hotel staircase. As the first Union officer killed in the Civil War, Ellsworth became an instant martyr—his “memory…revered, his name respected,” mourned The New York Times.

With the rallying cry “Avenge Ellsworth” on their lips, Federal troops soon occupied the entire Washington suburb. Union Colonel Orlando Willcox then ordered the Alexandria Gazette to publish a proclamation declaring martial law. Rather than comply, editor Edgar Snowden shut down the paper, whereupon Union soldiers seized the office, smashed property and allegedly stole valuables. A pre cedent had been established. Snowden lay low until October, when he launched a new journal called the Alexandria Local News, vowing the venture would focus on “the truth, as far as that can be reached.” Union forces kept their eye on Snowden, and his comeback proved fleeting. When later that year Union troops seized the rector of an Alexandria church merely for omitting the customary prayer for the president, Snowden denounced the arrest as an “outrage.” Soldiers responded by setting fire to the headquarters of the Local News. The beleaguered editor suspended operations yet again, only to reopen the old Gazette in 1862. Two years later he himself would be arrested.

Situations like these became commonplace in most of the volatile border states, where Union commanders struggled to prevent pro-slavery interests from mounting secession efforts. In Maryland, for example, Lincoln authorized each military commander “to arrest, and detain, without resort to the ordinary processes and forms of law, such individuals as he might deem dangerous to the public safety.” The broad order by no means exempted journalists. When that summer the pro-secession Baltimore Exchange editorialized that “the war of the South is a war of the people, supported by the people,” while the “war of the North” was “the war of a party…carried out by political schemers,” military authorities shut down the paper, arrested editors W.W. Glenn and Francis Key Howard—the latter, a grandson of the author of the National Anthem—and shipped them off to prison without trial. Howard’s surviving personal papers suggest that authorities may have acted prudently in his case: The records included secret resolutions in which Baltimore leaders pledged violent support for the Confederacy. He remained in detention, his case unresolved, for months, and for a time he was confined at Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor, the very installation whose bombardment half a century earlier had inspired his grandfather to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Howard also spent time at that most notorious of press dungeons, New York’s Fort Lafayette, and later wrote an unrepentant memoir about his lengthy confinement titled Fourteen Months in American Bastilles.

In short order, acting under instructions from Secretary of War Simon Cameron, federal marshals suppressed four more of Baltimore’s anti-Union journals and imprisoned a number of their proprietors. “The secession organs in Richmond were not more unscrupulous or desperate in their attempts to undermine and overthrow the Government at Washington than these same in Baltimore,” The New York Times cheered. Henry Raymond’s only complaint was that it cost the federal government millions of dollars “to repair the mischief of the un-muzzled organs of treason in Baltimore.” That there was some truth to the suspicions of treason among local newspapermen was confirmed when onetime reporter J.B. Jones, making his way through the city en route to Richmond, reassuringly found Baltimore Sun editor Arunah Abell to be “an ardent secessionist.” In September, emboldened federal authorities arrested yet another Maryland editor, Daniel Deckart, for publishing a “disloyal sheet” in Hagerstown. Deckart ended up confined for more than a month at Washington’s dank Thirteenth Street prison.

Inevitably suppression fever, like the war itself, spread west, particularly to Missouri and Kentucky, two border states where Union loyalty may have been a minority sentiment. During the post–Bull Run summer, as strategically crucial Missouri teetered on the brink of secession—in the end it never left the Union but remained a fierce battleground—commanding General John C. Frémont moved under martial law to consolidate control over the press. Early on, the army suppressed the pro-Confederate St. Louis State Journal and arrested editor Joseph W. Tucker. Back in New York, the Times again showed no sympathy for such brethren. Raymond pointed out that “the chief Western organ of the Southern conspirators” had “given itself up to stimulating the mob of St. Louis to sedition and bloodshed, and inaugurating the reign of anarchy in the city and state.” Federal troops also sacked the Cape Girardeau Eagle, closed down the Hannibal Evening News and padlocked newspapers in Missouri outposts like Warrensburg, Platte City, Osceola, Oregon and Washington.

A politician destined to be embroiled in later free speech controversies—Democratic congressman Clement L. Vallandigham of Dayton, Ohio—responded to these shutdowns with a vow to introduce federal legislation “to secure the freedom of speech and of the press.” The initiative received little support. Raymond continued to mock the theory that “organs of treason” could be protected to publish at will. “The United States is now at war with Secessionism,” he editorialized. “…Whatever ministers to it must be destroyed; whatever stands in the pathway of our triumph must be overthrown.” The Times adamantly rejected the “vague notion afloat that freedom of speech carries with it some special and peculiar sanctity.”

Less than a week after that comment appeared in print, one of the newly minted generals under Frémont’s command acted to suppress a newspaper in yet another Missouri district. His name was Ulysses S. Grant. On August 26, Grant moved not only against grocers supplying food to secessionists, he also ordered the shutdown of the Booneville Patriot, published some 40 miles from his Jefferson City headquarters. “Bring all the printing material, type &c with you,” he directed his troops. “Arrest J.L. Stevens and bring him with you, and some copies of the paper he edits.” Stevens was no more entitled to civil rights, Grant maintained, than the other “obnoxious” Confederate sympathizers. “Give secessionists to understand what to expect if it becomes necessary to visit them again.” Just a week later, Grant reported that “some of the despatches [sic]” earmarked for telegraphing “by one of the newspaper correspondents” accompanying his army were “so detrimental to the good of the service that I felt it my duty to suppress them,” too. For a time, the assault on the pro-slavery, pro-Confederate press in Missouri continued unchecked—and at both Washington and New York editorial desks, unchallenged. That same month, the military closed down two more St. Louis papers, the War Bulletin and the Missourian, charging that both were “shamelessly devoted to the publication of transparently false statements regarding military movements in Missouri.” When the St. Louis Christian Advocate came to the papers’ defense, the provost marshal warned its editors to adhere to its identity as “a religious paper” or face “the discipline of the department,” too. Military censorship tightened further when the army “seized and destroyed” the St. Louis Daily Evening News, and briefly detained editor Charles G. Ramsay for criticizing Frémont’s failure to rescue a Federal garrison at Lexington, Mo. “We are under a reign of terror,” an anonymous correspondent protested to Postmaster General Montgomery Blair after Ramsay’s arrest. “…Will our President countenance such tyranny?” Blair dutifully forwarded the warning to Lincoln, but the president offered neither comment nor relief.

 

By September, suppression fever had reached the Bluegrass State. On the 9th, an angry Union loyalist from Indiana, Charles Fishback, inflamed matters by sending Secretary of State William Seward a batch of recent editorials from the Louisville Courier, a paper that Horace Greeley had earlier branded “a Secession Press.” Was it not “about time,” Fishback implored Seward, that “the editor were an occupant of Fort Lafayette or some other suitable place for traitors? The people are getting tired of sending their sons to fight rebels while such as this editor, more mischievous by far than if armed with muskets, are allowed to furnish aid and comfort to the enemy unmolested.” On the 18th, three days after a Cabinet meeting at which the matter may well have come up for discussion, the Post Office obliged by banning the Courier from the U.S. mails. The following day, federal authorities raided the newspaper’s offices and took several employees into custody, including assistant editor Reuben T. Durrett, whom they charged with publishing “editorials of the most treasonable character.”

It was not a banner day for free speech in Kentucky. Also seized as a traitor on September 19 was the state’s former governor, Charles S. Morehead, along with one Martin W. Barr, who, it was alleged, “used his position as telegraph agent for the Associated Press to advance the insurrectionary cause.” The case of the ex-governor of course dominated the news, relegating the Durrett arrest to the background. In fact, because Durrett was linked to the detention of so important a politician, it became one of the first press arrest cases in which Lincoln involved himself directly, though not, as it turned out, sympathetically.

The Courier’s racist but pro-Union owner George D. Prentice acted to absolve himself from his employee’s views, but also tried to exert influence to liberate him. Prentice had previously called on Kentucky to remain neutral, and expected the president to bestow patronage influence on him in return. Now he wrote Lincoln to urge leniency for Durrett. Perhaps he was “a secessionist,” Prentice conceded, “but he has never done any harm in our community….I would rather give a portion of the brief remnant of my life than have his confinement protracted.” Lincoln remained unmoved. He coolly scribbled on the back of Prentice’s plea: “sent to Fort Lafayette by the military authorities of Kentucky and it would be improper for me to intervene without further knowledge of the facts than I now possess.”

The “further knowledge” soon arrived—of a decidedly condemnatory nature—courtesy of pro-Union Kentucky Democrat Joseph Holt, secretary of war under James Buchanan, but now working tirelessly to keep his home state from seceding. Holt informed Lincoln that Durrett had indeed “done everything to incite the people of Kentucky to take up arms against the General Government,” adding, “His arrest has rejoiced the hearts of the Union men, and his discharge…would in my judgment be a fatal mistake.” Holt enclosed a cache of Durrett “paragraphs,” in one of which the journalist asserted that Kentucky was “under no obligation to remain in the Union, but under many to leave it.” Durrett remained in confinement, and Lincoln rewarded Holt’s loyalty by naming him judge advocate general of the Union armies.

Undaunted, Durrett’s sympathizers pressed on for his release through other channels. To no avail, they wrote to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase on October 10, arguing that Durrett was a “harmless man” who “hardly knew which side he was on,” and again petitioned Lincoln for mercy by pointing out that his confinement had left the journalist’s family “financially ruined.” Only in October did Lincoln finally tell Seward: “I am willing if you are that any of the parties may be released”— that is, if the president’s reliable Kentucky allies James Guthrie and James Speed agreed that “they should be.” Yet not until Durrett himself wrote Seward in December to protest his innocence and complain bitterly about conditions in prison was his case finally reopened. Seward finally relented, ordering the journalist’s release providing he agree to do nothing “hostile to the United States.”

Durrett swore to a standard oath of allegiance on December 9 and at last became a free man—after 10 weeks inside a series of federal prisons without trial—and only after Prentice again reminded Lincoln of “the importance of the Journal as an agency in this struggle.” For good measure, Prentice added that he could sustain the paper only if Lincoln awarded him contracts to supply the army with weapons, animals and food. Few 1861 suppression episodes better illustrated the dangers facing border state editors who opposed the Union, or the rewards expected by those who supported it. At least Lincoln could console himself in the belief that “I understand the Kentucky arrests were not made by special direction from here.” This was small consolation to Durrett, who was still languishing in prison when his employer began securing lucrative government contracts.

Similarly chilling incidents took place in Northern states that had voted strongly for Lincoln in 1860, and posed no danger of abandoning the Union. Though unsanctioned by the government, these attacks, most of them spontaneous, were seldom restrained by local authorities, and rarely punished in court. Nearly all the aggression reflected shame and fury over the humiliation at Bull Run. In much the same way official Washington attempted to place undeserved blame for that fiasco on the London Times, residents of Northern towns and villages long accustomed to tolerating both Republican and Democratic newspapers now unleashed their pent-up rage on Democratic papers that questioned military recruitment or mocked the soldiers’ performance on the battlefield.

 

Originally published in the December 2014 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.

31 Responses to Stop the Presses: Lincoln Suppresses Journalism

  1. It boggles the imagination that historians count the worse mass murderer this country ever produced as it’s greatest President.

    • Scott Ledridge says:

      Or how others raise up an illegal rebellion intent on creating a perpetual slave nation.

      • Twern’t nothing illegal about it.
        As far as a perpetual slave nation, the proposed 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, known as the Corwin Amendment, reads to wit: No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or
        give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State,
        with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held
        to labor or service by the laws of said State.”
        It was passed by the 36th Congress on March 2, 1861, and submitted to the several States’ legislatures for ratification.
        Thus, the South could have repealed their ordinances of secession, rejoined the United States, take part in ratifying the Amendment, and declare victory. Thus avoiding the war and all its echoing baggage.
        But that didnt happen, did it?
        Kindof makes you go “Hhhmmmmm” into the night, huh?

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        Twas illegal as the day is long.

        Secession has always been illegal.

        The Corwin Amendment would have clarified the Constitution. Nothing more. The South wanted expansion of slavery. Without it, with enough Free states, the states could have amended the Constitution without Congress. So, the same problem existed for the Slave states. That’s why the Corwin Amendment was never considered by the South.

        So, they didn’t repeal their secession declarations. So, their stated reason of slavery still stood. And why they continued with war.

        What I was referring to with “perpetual slave nation”, their constitution made African chattel slavery, as it existed in 1861, perpetual.

        There’s nothing to wonder about at night when the South was clear in their intentions and the facts exist as they do.

      • By what precedent is secession illegal. And not so said after the fact like in the Texas v White decision. The United States exists via secession. We are an illegal entity?

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        The US is not an illegal entity now. It was when it rebelled against the Crown. But, through the right to revolution, the Founders won our independence.

        Here’s a thorough rundown of the precedent set in the Supreme Court; before, during, and after the war: https://goo.gl/M6YvBG

      • The New England States talked secession a few tymes, most notably during the War of 1812. They met in Hartford Connecticut in late 1814, early 1815. It caused the ultimate downfall of the Federalist Party.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        Talking about secession isn’t acting on secession. But, even if they acted on it, that wouldn’t make it in some way legal.

      • Secession is not addressed in the U.S. Constitution. There are just the thoughts, opinions of man. Even the worst mass murderer in American history, a. lincoln, was for secession… afore he was against it. He so spoke as a Representative from Illinois in 1848 during a session of Congress.
        Secession DOES NOT = TREASON! ONCE AND FOR ALL!
        Mighten be unwise, or not. Mighten be for the stupidest of reasons, or not.
        But NOT TREASON!
        Please make a note of it.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        Secession isn’t addressed directly because it isn’t needed. James Madison is the primary author to the Constitution. He called secession a “colossal heresy”.

        “The essential difference between a free Govt. & Govts. not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater right to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold him to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia Resolutions of +98. adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense & common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a single party, with the parties, to the Constitutional compact of the U. S. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or be absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created. In the Virga Resolutions & Report, the plural number, States, is in every instance used whenever reference is made to the authority which presided over the Govt. As I am now known to have drawn those documents, I may say as I do with a distinct recollection, that it was intentional. It was in fact required by the course of reasoning employed on the occasion. The Kentucky resolutions being less guarded have been more easily perverted. The pretext for the liberty taken with those of Virga. is the word respective prefixed to the “rights &c” to be secured within the States. Could the abuse of the expression have been foreseen or suspected the form of it would doubtless have been varied. But what can be more consistent with common sense, than that all having the same rights &c. should unite in contending for the security of them to each—
        It is remarkable how closely the nullifiers, who make the name of Mr. Jefferson the pedestal for their colossal heresy, shut their eyes & lips, whenever his authority is ever so clearly & emphatically agst. them. You have noticed what he says in his letters to Monroe & Carrington ps. 43 & 202. Vol 2d with respect to the power of the old Congs. to coerce delinquent States, and his reasons for preferring for the purpose a naval to a military force; and moreover his remark that it was not necessary to find a right to coerce, in the Federal Articles; that being inherent in the nature of a compact. It is hightime that the claim to secede at will should be put down by the public opinion; and I shall be glad to see the task commenced by one who understands the subject.” – Madison to Trist, Dec 23, 1832

        During the Constitutional Convention, New York actually wanted a secession amendment to be activated after a number of years. Hamilton wrote to Madison about the issue:
        “”You will understand that the only qualification will be the reservation of a right to recede, in case our amendments have not been decided upon, in one of the modes pointed out by the Constitution, within a certain number of years, perhaps five or seven. If this can, in the first instance, be admitted as a ratification, I do not fear any further consequences. Congress will, I presume, recommend certain amendments to render the structure of the Government more secure. This will satisfy the more considerate and honest opposers of the Constitution, and with the aid of them will break up the party.

        Yours, affectionately, A. HAMILTON,”

        Madison replied:
        “Compacts must be reciprocal; this principle would not in such case be preserved. The Constitution requires an adoption in toto and FOREVER. It has been so adopted by the other States. An adoption for a limited time would be as defective as an adoption of some of the articles only. In short, any condition whatever must vitiate the ratification.”

        Lincoln was never for secession. He said if you have the power to wrestle away your independence, then it’s yours. He’s talking about revolution.

        Secession/rebellion is treason as you are an enemy of the country by trying to harm it by making it less than whole.

      • To use several excerpts from William Rawle, LL.D. in his book “A View of the Constitution of the United States of America” chapter 33 –

        The principle of representation, although certainly the wisest and best,
        is not essential to the being of a republic, but to continue a member of the
        Union, it must be preserved, and therefore the guarantee must be so construed. It depends on the state itself to retain or abolish the principle of representation, because it depends on itself whether it will continue a member of the Union.To deny this right would be inconsistent with the principle on which all our political systems are founded, which is, that the people have in all cases, a right to determine how they will be governed.
        This right must be considered as an ingredient in the original composition
        of the general government, which, though not expressed, was mutually understood, and the doctrine heretofore presented to the reader in regard to the indefeasible nature of personal allegiance, is so far qualified in respect to allegiance to the United States. It was observed, that it was competent for a state to make a compact with its citizens, that the reciprocal obligations of protection and allegiance might cease on certain events; and it was further observed, that allegiance would necessarily cease on the dissolution of the society to which it was due.
        The states, then, may wholly withdraw from the Union, but while they
        continue, they must retain the character of representative republics. Governments of dissimilar forms and principles cannot long maintain a binding coalition.
        “Greece,” says Montesquieu, “was undone as soon as the king of
        Macedon obtained a seat in the amphyctionic council.”
        “It is probable, however, that the disproportionate force as well as the monarchical form of the new confederate had its share of influence in the event. But whether the historical fact supports the theory or not, the principle in respect to ourselves is unquestionable.”

        It must also be conceded, that the people of the new state retain the same power to alter their constitution, that is enjoyed by the people of the older states, and provided such alterations are not carried so far as to extinguish the republican principle, their admission is not affected.
        The secession of a state from the Union depends on the will of the people
        of such state. The people alone as we have already seen, hold the power to alter their constitution. The Constitution of the United States is to a certain extent, incorporated into the constitutions of the several states by the act of the people. The state legislatures have only to perform certain organical operations in respect to it. To withdraw from the Union comes not within the general scope of their delegated authority. There must be an express provision to that effect inserted in the state constitutions. This is not at present the case with any of them, and it would perhaps be impolitic to confide it to them.
        A matter so momentous, ought not to be entrusted to those who would have it in their power to exercise it lightly and precipitately upon sudden dissatisfaction, or causeless jealousy, perhaps against the interests and the wishes of a majority of their constituents.
        But in any manner by which a secession is to take place, nothing is more
        certain than that the act should be deliberate, clear, and unequivocal. The
        perspicuity and solemnity of the original obligation require correspondent
        qualities in its dissolution. The powers of the general government cannot be defeated or impaired by an ambiguous or implied secession on the part of the state, although a secession may perhaps be conditional. The people of the state may have some reasons to complain in respect to acts of the general government, they may in such cases invest some of their own officers with the power of negotiation, and may declare an absolute secession in case of their failure. Still, however, the secession must in such case be distinctly and peremptorily declared to take place on that event, and in such case — as in the case of an unconditional secession,
        — the previous ligament with the Union, would be legitimately and fairly destroyed. But in either case the people is the only moving power.

        Additionally, to quote Alexander Hamilton in the ratifying convention in New York, “To coerce the States is one of the maddest projects that ever was devised…What picture does this idea present to our view? A complying State at war with a non-complying State; Congress marching troops of one State into the bosom of another…Here is a nation at war with itself…Can any reasonable man be well disposed towards a government that makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself; a government that can exist only by the sword? …But can we believe that one State will ever suffer itself to be used as an instrument of coercion? The thing is a dream, it is impossible.”

        And this from Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune:
        “We hold, with Jefferson, the inalienable right of communities to alter or abolish forms of government that have become oppressive or injurious; and if the cotton States shall decide that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace. The right to secede may be a revolutionary right but it exists nonetheless… We hope to never live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the other by bayonets.”

        And finally, one personal observation. Not once in this debate have you attacked me, not one instance of vituperation, not one instance of ugliness. You have thoughtfully presented your case with much dignity and integrity.

        You have gained my grudging admiration and respect.

        We shall not persuade the other, thus this shall be my last entry here.

        My hat is off to you, sir, a worthy adversary.

        Very well done!

      • The revolutionary right of secession is based on the Declaration of Independence and the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and John Locke, that
        whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for
        which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or
        abolish it, and to institute new government, . . .

        A similar sentiment was expressed by
        a. lincoln in 1847 on the floor of the United States House of
        Representatives:
        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, a most sacred right, a
        right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.

        Discussing the nature of the union in Chapter 32 of William Rawle’s book A View of the Constitution, he writes that;

        The Union is an association of the people of republics; its preservation is calculated to depend on the preservation of those republics.
        If a faction should attempt to subvert the government of a state for the purpose of destroying its republican form, the paternal power of the Union could thus be called forth to subdue it.
        Yet it is not to be understood, that its interposition would be justifiable, if the people of a state should determine to retire from the Union, whether they adopted another or retained the same form of government, or if they should, with the, express intention of seceding, expunge the representative system from their code, and thereby incapacitate themselves from concurring according to the mode now prescribed, in the choice of certain public officers of the United States.

        The principle of representation, although certainly the wisest and best, is not essential to the being of a republic, but to continue a member of the Union, it must be preserved, and therefore the guarantee must be so construed. It depends on the state itself to retain or abolish the principle of representation, because it depends on itself whether it will continue a member of the Union. To deny this right would be inconsistent with the principle on which all our political systems are founded, which is, that the people have in all cases, a right to determine how they will be governed.
        The states, then, may wholly withdraw from the Union, but while they continue, they must retain the character of representative republics. Governments of dissimilar forms and principles cannot long maintain a binding coalition. “Greece,” says Montesquieu, “was undone as soon as the king of Macedon obtained a seat in the amphyctionic council.” [Federalist No. 43] It is probable, however, that the disproportionate force as well as the monarchical form of the new confederate had its share of influence in the event. But whether the historical fact supports the theory or not, the principle in respect to ourselves is unquestionable.

        This Union of American States existed as a whole with 13 States, 15 States, and subsequent numbers of new States.
        It would have existed as a whole had the yankee north just left the first 7 seceded States alone. Just a bit smaller in territorial size.
        No war.
        No destruction.
        Slavery ended peacefully, benevolently by about 1900.
        No hard feelings.
        Sounds like a better alternative to me.

        Whatcha think?

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        “The revolutionary right of secession” – This is an oxymoron. A revolution is a rebellion against the ruling government. Secession is a political act. You do one or the other. The colonists were revolutionaries and they recognized themselves as such. Never is “secession” mentioned from any of them.

        Jefferson and Locke, both, were against the notion of “secession”.

        “…that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established…” – And that wasn’t the case in 1860. A constitutional election was held. Lincoln was constitutionally elected. Because he opposed something the South sought doesn’t make him, or his election, unconstitutional. Alexander Stephens even made this point to the Georgia legislature.

        Lincoln’s election didn’t automatically mean that the Kansas Nebraska Act would be repealed. It didn’t mean that slavery, where it existed, was under threat (he said as much). So, there really was no good reason for their rebellion.

        “Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power…” – He’s referring to revolution. Not secession. There’s a right to revolution. But, you have to have the power to take your independence.

        “Discussing the nature of the union in Chapter 32 of William Rawle’s book A View of the Constitution, he writes that…” – Look, I get that you like the views you find on Lew Rockwell, but, you should know nothing on that site is well founded. Madison, the chief author of the Constitution, explained in his 1832 Trist letter (that I believe I’ve noted further up this thread), that the notion of secession is a colossal heresy. The nature of the compact makes it perpetual, just as the Articles of Confederation were. He even told New York in the ratification process that ratification of the Constitution was “in toto, and forever”. That partial ratification was no ratification at all.

        Also what Rawle misses is that the states don’t hold ultimate power. The People of the United States do. All of them. Not some of them. In fact, Madison made the remark that in our system, states are no more tangible than political affiliations. And in the end, federal law is supreme.

        The Union is, or it isn’t. Because it is made by the People of the United States.

        Slavery lasting until 1900 might sound better to you, but, I’d bet the 4 million+, and growing, slaves would have a different view.

        It’s important here to point out that the South had no intentions of ever ending their slavery. So, I don’t know that 1900 is even realistic. The Founders didn’t think it would last, certainly not grow stronger. Yet, in 1860, slavery was stronger than ever. And the South was insistent on expansion. Not to mention they made African chattel slavery, as it existed in 1860, perpetual. They rebelled at the possibility of slavery being restricted. There certainly weren’t intending on “benevolently” letting slaves be free. Even after the war, they tried every way they could think to continue slavery.

      • From around 1800 into the 1830’s, there was a small but growing emancipation movement all over the country, including the South. And but for the harassment, agitation, intemperate interference from the extremist abolitionists, the Southern emancipation feeling might have bloomed, flowered into action. But, we’ll never know.
        This from James Buchana’s last State of the Union message to Congress:
        “Why is it, then, that discontent now so extensively prevails, and the Union of the States, which is the source of all these blessings, is threatened with destruction?

        The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States has at length produced its natural effects. The different sections of the Union are now arrayed against each other, and the time has arrived, so much dreaded by the Father of his Country, when hostile geographical parties have been formed.

        I have long foreseen and often forewarned my countrymen of
        the now impending danger. This does not proceed solely from the claim on the part of Congress or the Territorial legislatures to exclude
        slavery from the Territories, nor from the efforts of different States
        to defeat the execution of the fugitive-slave law. All or any of these
        evils might have been endured by the South without danger to the Union (as others have been) in the hope that time and reflection might apply the remedy. The immediate peril arises not so much from these causes as from the fact that the incessant and violent agitation of the slavery question throughout the North for the last quarter of a century has at length produced its malign influence on the slaves and inspired them with vague notions of freedom. Hence a sense of security no longer exists around the family altar. This feeling of peace at home has given place to apprehensions of servile insurrections. Many a matron throughout the South retires at night in dread of what may befall herself and children before the morning. Should this apprehension of domestic danger, whether real or imaginary, extend and intensify itself until it shall pervade the masses of the Southern people, then disunion will become inevitable. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, and has been implanted in the heart of man by his Creator for the wisest purpose; and no political union, however fraught with blessings and benefits in all other respects, can long continue if the necessary consequence be to render the homes and the firesides of nearly half the parties to it habitually and hopelessly insecure. Sooner or later the bonds of such a union must be severed. It is my conviction that this fatal period has not yet arrived, and my prayer to God is that He would
        preserve the Constitution and the Union throughout all generations.

        But let us take warning in time and remove the cause of danger. It can not be denied that for five and twenty years the agitation at the North against slavery has been incessant. In 1835 pictorial handbills and inflammatory appeals were circulated extensively throughout the South of a character to excite the passions of the slaves, and, in the language of General Jackson, “to stimulate them to insurrection and produce all the horrors of a servile war.” This agitation has ever since been continued by the public press, by the proceedings of State and county conventions and by abolition sermons and lectures. The time of Congress has been occupied in violent speeches on this never-ending subject, and appeals, in pamphlet and other forms, indorsed by distinguished names, have been sent forth from this central point and spread broadcast over the Union.

        How easy would it be for the American people to settle the slavery question forever and to restore peace and harmony to this distracted country!

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        “And but for the harassment, agitation, intemperate interference from the extremist abolitionists, the Southern emancipation feeling might have bloomed, flowered into action.” – Those abolitionists and their thinking that it was wrong to own people. The gall…

        Any emancipation movement that existed in the South in the early 19th century was all but gone by the mid-19th century. The passing of laws making it illegal to educate slaves, making it harder to free slaves (and in some states illegal), the determination to perpetuate African chattel slavery, etc… demonstrate that this notion that the South was just so anxious to free their slaves is just wrong.

        As Buchanan said, the territories were the focus in 1860. And by this view, I suppose you feel the South would have been justified in the 50s and 60s to try secession again because “Northern agitators” were coming down to help blacks gain civil rights. The North didn’t want slavery in the country. The South wanted to take their slaves wherever they pleased; even where it wasn’t welcome. Revolt has always existed wherever there is slavery. As Bible-learned as the South pretends to be, that fact should be obvious and embraced.

        It’s incredible to me that the Old South used the representation of those that couldn’t represent themselves in any manner to strengthen their ability to perpetuate the enslavement of those same people, limited the free speech of any person in the country that spoke against slavery in their borders, and even after the war continued to operate in opposition to the Constitution. And these enemies of the US are held up as heroes of American values. They were anything but. They wanted a return to the aristocracy of Europe. William Porcher Miles, the designer of the Southern Cross, said that man is born neither free nor equal. But, sure, let’s fly his flag.

      • Mayhaps not. It was still highly unlikely the several States would have sent troops, upon Madison’s request, to be used to invade their brother States.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        “It was still highly unlikely the several States would have sent troops, upon Madison’s request, to be used to invade their brother States…” – Was it highly unlikely? Washington had troops respond when he moved on western PA. Jackson was ready to march into South Carolina.

      • Secession illegal? The the USA is an illegitimate country.

        The Constitution has always been susceptible to amending without Congressional participation. Read Article V. BUT, still requires at minimum 3/4ths of the States ratification to Amend. Which means… in 1861, there were 33 States including the South. Now, there were 15 slave States back then. In order for there to be a solid 3/4ths majority of States dedicated to Constitutionally abolishing slavery, there’d have to be 60 States.

        Now, the heart and soul of the CSA was State sovereignty. My reading of the CSA Constitution teaches me that the instrument does NOT prohibit the individual several States from conducting its own domestic affairs according to its own needs. They could have abolished slavery within its own borders as customs and attitudes change.

        THESE ARE THE FACTS!

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        “the USA is an illegitimate country” – I don’t even know what you mean by that. Because the Founders were traitors to the Crown? Yeah, they were. But, they revolted and won their independence. They never had any visions otherwise. They always knew they would have to fight for their freedom.

        “The Constitution has always been susceptible to amending without Congressional participation.” – Yes. What’s your point?

        No one knew how many states would be formed at that time. If you’ll look at a map, the states out west are much bigger than the states in the east. And on top of that, several Slave states were already waning in their commitment to the institution.

        You need to reread the CSA Constitution. It strictly prohibits any state or territory from abolishing slavery… ever.

        Art. I Sec. 9 (4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

        Article IV Sec. 2 (3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

        So, no what you have are not the facts.

      • The Confederate Constitution applied to the Confederate government, NOT the States as sovereigns. The CSA was all about State sovereignty, NOT the States submitting to the national government.
        Thus, the individual States handled their own affairs.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        The above is from their constitution. Clearly exhibiting federal power of over the states and territories. As the states’ constitutions would have to comply with the federal constitution, no state could pass any laws denying or impairing the right to slavery. As Alexander Stephens said, their constitution answered the question about slavery forever.

      • And again. The CSA Constitution had to do with restricting the national government.

        And as States Rights was The Cause for secession, sooner or later the States would have contended with any language they believed restricted their right to their own domestic policy. Pro or anti slavery.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        “State’s rights” was rhetoric. The chief concern was strengthening slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act infringed on the rights of the Free states by forcing their citizens to participate in the institution. The South didn’t standby to allow Kansas to decide on its future as a Free or Slave state. Virginia’s war ultimatums were entirely about slavery being accepted throughout the states and territories. South Carolina, in their secession declaration, that some Northern states were allowing blacks to vote. And as demonstrated above, the CSA federal government would not allow its states the right to decide on the freedom of their citizens.

        Strengthening the institution of slavery was their chief concern.

        “And as States Rights was The Cause for secession…” – This is akin to saying someone died, but how or why isn’t important.

        The reality is that they did rebel over issues regarding slavery. There wasn’t anything else that contentious to cause rebellion. Whether something else might have arisen later (equality and civil rights, probably) that would have caused another crisis; we’ll never know.

        But, I agree, no matter when, if any attempt was ever made at restricting, or abolishing slavery, the South proved it was going to go to war to protect and ensure slavery.

        “Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.” – Lincoln, Cooper Union Speech

      • So, taxation without representation was also rhetoric?
        I bet those western Pennsylvanians of the Whiskey Rebellion so thought!

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        Taxation without representation is a more direct claim. “State’s rights” is a vague calling. That could mean anything. It doesn’t tell you anything.

      • Also, given the national government was located in DC, It would not have been destroyed with the secession of 7 States. Virginia, North Carolina would not have left had the homicidal madman not unilaterally declared war. The USA existed with 13 States, grew to 33 States, would have been just fine with 26 States.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        The Union is whole, or it is dissolved. Jefferson said that no federal government can exist under the notion of secession.

        Jefferson Davis pulled Lincoln into a situation that he knew would lead to war. He wanted the other slave states to join. He already knew Virginia had already promised to join the CSA in such case.

      • “…pulled Lincoln into a situation that he knew would lead to war.”?
        This is ludicrous. Davis is on record as stating all we wish is to be left alone. Whereas lincoln is on record in his first inaugural address as stating he will go to war to collect the tariff.

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        I’m sure you’re aware of rhetoric. Davis was full on

        Davis wanted war to unify the South. This is his letter to Bragg, April 3, 1861:
        “It is scarcely to be doubted that for political reasons, the US govt will avoid making an attack so long as there is hope of retaining the border states remains. There would be to us an advantage in so placing them that an attack would be a necessity, but when we are ready to relieve our territory and jurisdiction of a foreign garrison that advantage is overbalanced by other considerations.”

        What’s ludicrous is thinking that’s what Lincoln said in his first inaugural address. First, it’s the right and the duty of the government to protect and defend what is the US’s. Second, it’s the duty and oath of the President to ensure that happens.

        So, as much as Lincoln was referring to the property, munitions, ammunitions, etc… that had been stolen from the US and used against it, he wasn’t referring to the Morrill Tariff. If you’ll read his July 4th Address to Congress, he goes into great detail about this.

        But, this view also conveniently ignores what Lincoln actually said in his first inaugural address: “One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.”

        The same thing he said to Stephens in a private letter months before. Stephens replied in kind with no mention of tariffs. Just like the secession declarations.

      • cuchulain says:

        Abraham Lincoln…
        Illegally prosecuted the U.S. Civil War…

        * Unconstitutional, without Act of Congress.
        * Could not be “to save” the Union; the Union is a voluntary organization. Lincoln made it involuntary.
        * Was what he called it: a war against secession, a right of the States given in the nation’s founding Declaration.
        This was the foundation of his destruction of parts of the Constitution and usurpation of powers into
        a central Federal govt, in keeping with his mercantilist background. The States are the source of the Union
        and can dissolve their participation as sovereign entities, just as America did from England.
        * Advocated Hamiltonian ‘mercantilism’: crony capitalism, politically run central bank, tariffs favoring
        the North, corp. welfare. This was the Whig Party scheme for perpetual political power. The Civil War became ‘necessary’.
        * These policies generated the South’s need to secede. So, war. “Never let a crisis go to waste”; sound familiar?
        * In contrast, South declared itself a “free trade zone” so the North feared a global trade exodus to the South’s ports.
        It wasn’t “save the Union”, rather preserve the high-tariff, authoritarian & centralized new Fed. govt.
        * In his 1st Inaug. address, endorsed a Constit. Amendment that shielded slavery from the constitutional amendment
        process and from abolition or interference by Congressand got his SoS, W. Seward, to have it pass the Senate.
        The Corwin Amendment.
        * Emancipation Proc. did not free anyone; it stated it was not applicable to ‘rebel territory’.
        The 13th A. freed the slaves. Slavery issue was a cynical pretense & “war measure” [2].
        * Proportional to today’s population, the Civil War killed approx. 6M people.
        * New England, Ohio, Penn., Indiana, etc. all ended slavery peacefully – and England, Spain, Denmark, etc.
        * As President, allocated several million $ to build ships and deport freed blacks to present-day Liberia (Africa)
        and claimed the black person could not be an equal citizen in America.
        * Manipulated S.Carolina into firing the first shot to justify the invasion of the South. A war criminal of the 1st degree.
        * Suspended Habeus Corpus (Consitution, Art.1) and shut down 100s of opposition newspapers.
        * Ordered military mass arrests of 10s of thousands of Northern civilians opposed to his policies.
        * Proposed
        * The Lincoln “court historians” of today collude to prevent dissenting authors from getting published or gaining prominence.
        * Was a corrupt individual: 1) Bought land in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1857. 2) As President, after Civil
        War started, called a special session of Congress to jumpstart the Pacif. RR Bill which gave the Pres.
        the right to determine the eastern terminus of the Trans.Cont.RR… it was Council Bluffs.

        [1] Is Secession Legal?
        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/is-secession-legal/
        The Constitution was framed by the unanimous consent of the States present in convention assembled in Philadelphia, but it had no teeth until the States, in convention, ratified it. Even at that point, Madison suggested, the States could not bind the rest into accepting the document or remaining in the Union. The Constitution does not have a coercive principle, as Ellsworth called it. An “indissoluble” Union would suggest that it does.

        [2] Lysander Spooner
        https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Index:No_Treason,_v6.djvu
        https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:No_Treason,_v6.djvu/61
        And why did these men abolish slavery? Not from any love of liberty in general—not as an act of justice to the black man himself, but only “as a war measure”…

        Lincoln vs. the Constitution | by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVmgUqv8ZcE

      • Scott Ledridge says:

        “Abraham Lincoln… Illegally prosecuted the U.S. Civil War…” – Lincoln was enforcing the Constitution; as he was obliged to. He used the powers Washington used in the Whiskey Rebellion and the powers in Jefferson’s Insurrection Act of 1807.

        “* Unconstitutional, without Act of Congress.” – Again, Lincoln used the powers at his disposal. Also, he couldn’t wait for Congress to convene while the country fell apart. Lincoln explained his actions in his July 4th Address to Congress. Congress found nothing wrong with his actions.

        “* Could not be “to save” the Union; the Union is a voluntary organization. Lincoln made it involuntary.” – The Union is not the states. It is “We the People of the United States”. All of us. So, some of us can’t decide to dissolve the Union. It has to be all of us.

        “* Was what he called it: a war against secession, a right of the States given in the nation’s founding Declaration.” – That’s ridiculous. The Declaration of Independence isn’t a government. Those that declared their independence then created a government in the following founding documents.

        But, as the colonials did, every man has a right to rebellion. Not secession. However, you have to win a rebellion.

        “The States are the source of the Union and can dissolve their participation as sovereign entities, just as America did from England.” – Again, that isn’t right. You read anything by Madison, the chief author of the Constitution. He’s very clear that the notion of secession is heresy.

        There were several Supreme Court cases before the war that dealt with state autonomy/secession. All of the cases were decided against.

        “* Advocated Hamiltonian ‘mercantilism’: crony capitalism, politically run central bank, tariffs favoring the North, corp. welfare. This was the Whig Party scheme for perpetual political power. The Civil War became ‘necessary’.” – Tariffs weren’t an issue in 1860. The Tariff of 1857 was the tariff in place when secession started. The South authored that tariff. So, tariffs were exactly where the South wanted them to be. As had been the case for 30 years. The South controlled the vote in the Senate.

        “* These policies generated the South’s need to secede. So, war. “Never let a crisis go to waste”; sound familiar?” – The only need that existed in 1860 was the need to expand slavery. Which is what Lincoln ran against. Which is what became clear wouldn’t after losing Kansas as a slave state. And that is what the South said time and again.

        “It wasn’t “save the Union”, rather preserve the high-tariff, authoritarian & centralized new Fed. govt.” – Except that the South had almost a quarter of the South’s buying power. And the South wasn’t equipped to export their cotton in the way the North could.

        “The Corwin Amendment” – The only thing the Corwin Amendment did was to keep the federal government from interfering with slavery where it existed. Lincoln viewed it as a clarification of the Constitution. However, it didn’t stop the states from starting their own amendment process to abolish slavery. With the growing number of free states, that became more of a reality. That’s why the South needed expansion so badly. And with the loss of Kansas, the South saw that slavery’s days were numbered in the US. That’s why the South didn’t bite on it.

        “Emancipation Proc. did not free anyone; it stated it was not applicable to ‘rebel territory’.” – You might want to give it another read. You have it backwards.

        “The 13th A. freed the slaves. Slavery issue was a cynical pretense & “war measure” – You the 13th Amendment that Lincoln pushed through Congress and got out to the states for ratification before he was assassinated?

        Slavery was a cynical pretense & war measure? You’ll have to look to the South. They were the ones that made slavery their cause for rebelling.

        “* Proportional to today’s population, the Civil War killed approx. 6M people.” – Which makes the South’s cause even more ignoble.

        “* New England, Ohio, Penn., Indiana, etc. all ended slavery peacefully – and England, Spain, Denmark, etc.” – Again, you’ll have to look to the South. The federal government’s goal wasn’t initially abolition. But, that doesn’t mean that the South’s goal wasn’t to found a nation on perpetual African chattel slavery. Because it was, according to them.

        “* As President, allocated several million $ to build ships and deport freed blacks to present-day Liberia (Africa) and claimed the black person could not be an equal citizen in America.” – He did not do that as President. He had a plan for those that voluntarily wanted to go could. But, it wouldn’t be a forced deportation. And his last speech was spent advocating for black voting rights and public education for the black community.

        “* Manipulated S.Carolina into firing the first shot to justify the invasion of the South. A war criminal of the 1st degree.” – This is always a good one. That Confederate apologists are willing to submit their heroes to being duped by Lincoln is always good to see. I agree, they weren’t the sharpest of wits. But, in reality, it was stupid. Davis told Bragg that the South needed a war to solidify and that they knew Lincoln wouldn’t dare start a war. Davis had already ordered Beauregard to level the fort days before. Lincoln told them his resupply effort was coming and that he wouldn’t dare add arms or men. After months of the standoff, the shores around Fort Sumter were heavily embattled. Anderson said his men were near starvation and they would be surrendering soon. Instead of turning away Lincoln’s effort, which they had already done with Buchanan’s attempt, they started a barrage that was so strong, when Lincoln’s ships arrived, there was nothing they could do.

        So, Lincoln didn’t dupe the South into a war. The South wanted a war.

        “* Suspended Habeus Corpus (Consitution, Art.1) and shut down 100s of opposition newspapers.” – Just as Davis did in East Tennessee. Where is your venom for him? When countries are falling apart, their leaders will go too far in some instances. Neither should have gone to the lengths they did.

        “* Ordered military mass arrests of 10s of thousands of Northern civilians opposed to his policies.” – See above.

        “* The Lincoln “court historians” of today collude to prevent dissenting authors from getting published or gaining prominence.” – That’s hilarious. There are no shortages of anti-Lincoln/neo-Confederate books out there. You can find them anywhere. I mean, you link one below. As averse to facts as DiLorenzo is, if he can get published (and republished after having to correct glaring lies and falsities) then anyone can.

        “* Was a corrupt individual…” – I don’t know anything about this. It’s something that was never an issue in his time. So, I doubt your hand-wringing is justified.

        “Is Secession Legal?” – No.

        “I partake of the wonder that the men you name should view secession in the light mentioned. The essential difference between a free Govt. & Govts. not free, is that the former is founded in compact, the parties to which are mutually and equally bound by it. Neither of them therefore can have a greater right to break off from the bargain, than the other or others have to hold him to it. And certainly there is nothing in the Virginia Resolutions of +98. adverse to this principle, which is that of common sense & common justice. The fallacy which draws a different conclusion from them lies in confounding a single party, with the parties, to the Constitutional compact of the U. S. The latter having made the compact may do what they will with it. The former as one only of the parties, owes fidelity to it, till released by consent, or be absolved by an intolerable abuse of the power created. In the Virga Resolutions & Report, the plural number, States, is in every instance used whenever reference is made to the authority which presided over the Govt. As I am now known to have drawn those documents, I may say as I do with a distinct recollection, that it was intentional. It was in fact required by the course of reasoning employed on the occasion. The Kentucky resolutions being less guarded have been more easily perverted. The pretext for the liberty taken with those of Virga. is the word respective prefixed to the “rights &c” to be secured within the States. Could the abuse of the expression have been foreseen or suspected the form of it would doubtless have been varied. But what can be more consistent with common sense, than that all having the same rights &c. should unite in contending for the security of them to each—

        It is remarkable how closely the nullifiers, who make the name of Mr. Jefferson the pedestal for their colossal heresy, shut their eyes & lips, whenever his authority is ever so clearly & emphatically agst. them. You have noticed what he says in his letters to Monroe & Carrington ps. 43 & 202. Vol 2d with respect to the power of the old Congs. to coerce delinquent States, and his reasons for preferring for the purpose a naval to a military force; and moreover his remark that it was not necessary to find a right to coerce, in the Federal Articles; that being inherent in the nature of a compact. It is hightime that the claim to secede at will should be put down by the public opinion; and I shall be glad to see the task commenced by one who understands the subject.” – Madison to Trist, Dec 23, 1832

        “Lysander Spooner” – He was a radical that nothing would have ever satiated. He was right that Lincoln’s top priority was preservation of the Union. But, he refused to recognized that, as President, Lincoln could only do so much. He wasn’t king. So, waving a scepter and declaring slavery abolished wouldn’t have made it so.

        The irony of neo-Confederates using Spooner against Lincoln is rich when the ones they are defending were literally perpetuating what Spooner hated most.

        DiLorenzo is a hack. And anyone who spends any time facts his claims against the primary sources will see that. His assertion that tariffs were the cause of the war, given that he’s an economist, make it him even more transparent. The timeline of the tariffs, the votes on the tariffs, and the data on the tariffs all disprove everything he claims. He had to edit and reissue The Real Lincoln at least twice to correct issues the publishers couldn’t even stomach. He’s the darling of the Mises and Abbeville institutes. The problem is that neither of them make the use of factual claims their foundation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

, , , , ,